Differentiation of Social Marketing and Cause-Related Marketing in US Professional Sport, pp. 91-103

Jennifer R. Pharr
Nancy L. Lough

Several studies have focused on cause-related sport marketing (CRM), yet few have examined social marketing in sport. The purpose of this study was to show how both are unique strategies employed in sport to achieve corporate social responsibility. A qualitative content analysis was utilized to analyze the outreach programs of the NBA, NFL, NHL, and MLB as described on each website. A directed content analysis was used to categorize outreach programs as CRM, social marketing, or other community outreach based on five variables that differentiate each strategy. Forty three programs were evaluated. Twenty two (51.2%) were categorized as social marketing, eight (18.6%) as CRM, and 13 (30.2%) as other community outreach. Social marketing programs were identified significantly more than CRM. The findings demonstrate how the major leagues have embraced the use of social marketing strategies to demonstrate corporate social responsibility.