A Social Identities Perspective on the Effects of Corporate Sport Sponsorship on Employees

Thomas M. Hickman
Kathreine E. Lawrence
James C. Ward

Integrated marketing communications usage, in particular, corporate sport sponsorship in conjunction with the marketing mix, has continued to mount over the past several years as companies strive to advance brand awareness and improve corporate image with respect to target markets. The popular press suggests that sponsorship can function as a tool for internal marketing, which is defined as a managerial strategy designed to motivate and enable organizational members to adopt a customer orientation, or to meet the needs of external customers. We explored the relationship between sponsorship and employee morale and expected that employees who are fans of the sponsored sport would be most positively impacted. We found sponsorship affinity to be positively related to organizational commitment and willingness to satisfy customers. Our study illustrates that sport sponsorship can be a form of internal communications, altering and enhancing a company's culture at different levels of the organization.