Niche Sport Sponsorship: Providing the Target Market Sponsors Want?

Greg Greenhalgh
Tiesha Martin
and Allison Smith

Professional niche sports are tremendously reliant on the resources received via corporate sponsorship as they are unlikely to attract substantial revenue via media contracts, ticket sales, or merchandise sales, especially when compared to mainstream sports. Furthermore, niche sports are vying for the same corporate support as their more established mainstream counterparts. However, niche sports have been found to have the ability to provide sponsors with a more specific demographic of fans compared to mainstream sports. If that demographic aligns with a corporation’s target market, the value of this relationship could increase substantially. Yet, the findings of the current study revealed nearly 60% of the 67 sponsors of two different niche sport teams indicated their target market included all of the categories provided for sex, ethnicity, education, and income, even though results also indicated the two teams were attracting statistically significant different fan bases: from a demographic perspective.