Sponsorship of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games: An Empirical Examination of the Reactions to Local Sponsors and Rival Brands

Rui Biscaia and Claudio Rocha

This study examines awareness, congruence, attitudes, and purchase intentions of three local sponsors of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games and their strongest rival brands, and tests the relationships among congruence, attitudes, and purchase intentions of both actual sponsors and their rivals. Data were collected through an online questionnaire (n = 621). Results indicated that awareness was significantly higher for only one of the sponsors. Neither congruence nor attitude toward the brand were higher for local sponsors when compared to their rival brands. Purchase intentions were significantly lower for local sponsors. Attitude toward the brand was significantly related to purchase intentions for all local sponsors and their rival brands. These findings suggest the need for local sponsors to engage in leveraging activities and to partner with the host to explain their role in the event's success. This study also draws attention to the importance for brands to carefully select the events to invest.