The Effectiveness of Sponsorship in Football to Graduate and Postgraduate Essay

The Effectiveness of Sponsorship in Football to Graduate and Postgraduate Students and Fans in London


            The perceived market potential in sports even dating back to the 1984 Olympics paved way to the sponsorship system in different types of sports from basketball, volleyball, swimming, golf, football, and such. Suddenly, major corporations and marketers regard sports as not only a source of fun and entertainment, skill development, and such, but also as promising investments. It has eventually led to the “infrastructural redevelopment… trade, repeat tourism, and the creation of a whole new image for a city or region within the global economy.” (Gratton & Henry, 2001, p. 109) Ultimately, sponsorship is a strategy that corporations utilize in order to reach a wider market and increase their revenue. (Amis & Cornwell, 2005)

            Perhaps one of the most important questions in assessing sponsorship in sports is its effectiveness in accomplishing the objectives of sponsors. In order to answer this inquiry, the remainder of this discussion shall focus on the effectiveness of sponsorship in football, specifically to graduate and post-graduate students in fans in London. In order to do so, various research studies on the issues involved in sponsorship shall be explored.

The Effectiveness of Sponsorship in Football in Research Studies

            In 2001, a research study was conducted by S-COMM, a leading consultancy firm for research and evaluation specializing in sponsorships. The objectives of the research study by S-COMM was to determine how fans remembered the logos and brands sponsored by sports teams in football and uncover the attitudes and perceptions of fans regarding football, the logos or brands sponsored by their teams, and their rival teams. S-COMM obtained a sample population of 150 football fans from London in the English Premier League. Before and after three football matches, S-COMM surveyors interviewed the fans in order to determine their ideas and perceptions on football, including the logos and brands advertised by the sports teams during the games. (Masterman, 2007)

            In terms of the fans’ attitudes towards the logos and the brands advertised, only 32 percent of the participants of the study said that they are willing to purchase merchandise from the sponsors of the football teams that they support, while 23 percent said that they would never purchase merchandise from the sponsors of the opposing teams. (Masterman, 2007) Judging from the small amount of participants who responded positively to the sponsors, the assumption is that the strategies of sponsors during the English Premier League was ineffective in urging fans to support their brands or merchandise.

            An article published by the Brand Republic seems to support the argument previously discussed that sponsorship is ineffective in urging London fans of football to support the sponsors. A survey was conducted in order to determine how football fans in London are influenced by sponsorship. According to one respondent, being fans of football does not mean that individuals also become fans of the sponsors. Fans are also customers who base their brand judgments or decisions on a variety of factors and not only on who sponsors their favorite football team. Thus, football sponsors are forced to change their strategies by looking for various ways on how they might be able to satisfy the fans in exchange for their support and loyalty to football teams or clubs. (Brand Republic, 2009) The implication of the weight of fan remarks and perceptions on sponsorship on the marketing decisions of sponsors is that the strategies being employed are inadequate in order to greatly motivate and influence the fans in London to meet the objectives and expectations of these sponsors.

            Although there are no known research studies and surveys on the effectiveness of sponsorship in football for graduate and postgraduate students in London, several others prove how individuals within this particular age range are influenced by sponsorship primarily in terms of brand awareness. According to an article published in one of the issues of Marketing Week in 2005, the younger population (19 years old and below) when compared with the adult population are more perceptive of logos or brands being advertised not only during sports performances of football, but also through other forms of media such as television, radio, and such. (Marketing Week, 2005)

            The impact of beer brands from England and Liverpool sponsors on brand awareness was assessed and the evaluation proved that most young people and only a small population of adults, who would fall under the age bracket of graduate and postgraduate students, are influenced by the sponsors. Even with home viewers who only watch football matches through their television, assessment has proved that the sponsorship strategies employed during football matches have not increased their awareness of the logos or brands endorsed during the games and motivated them to also patronize the sponsors. (Marketing Week, 2005)

            In general, the influence or effectiveness of football sponsorship has declined throughout the years, although it has never been one of the strongest marketing or advertising strategies employed by corporations and marketers. However, along these lines, it would be relevant to note that football sponsorship was once acknowledged by fans in England during the 1960s until the late 1990s. It started when the television came to be one of the primary medium of watching football. (Howard & Sayce, 1998) Nevertheless, the gradual decline of the effectiveness of football sponsorship was caused primarily by the global economic crisis that makes it challenging and difficult for sponsors to easily persuade fans to patronize their merchandise. (Ronay, 2008; Kemp, 2009) Therefore, even without categorizing football fans according to age, level of education, nationality, and so on, the global economic recession generally proves the ineffectiveness and failures of football sponsorship.


            Exploring the primary topic of the discussion is challenging and difficult enough due to the lack of literature or references that would substantiate ideas, hypotheses, perceptions, and such on the effectiveness of football sponsorship to graduate and postgraduate students and fans living in London. However, with a clear awareness of general issues that affect marketing and advertising, consumer decisions, the economy, and so on, one could easily deduce information from various unrelated sources to answer whether football sponsorship is effective or otherwise.

            Through a thorough yet seemingly fruitless effort to come up with research and case studies on the matter, we have come up with various articles, discussions, and so on that prove how football sponsorship has not been able to come across and deliver the objectives and expectations of advertising and marketing. The neglect of football fans of sponsorship efforts may be primarily influenced by the global economic recession but it may also be attributed to the forethought or prudence of football fans in unscrambling their loyalty and support for their preferred football teams as a different matter or angle, apart from the loyalty and support that sponsors are determined to develop within the fans.

Reference List

Amis, J. and Cornwell, T. B., 2005. Global Sport Sponsorship. Oxford, UK: Berg Publishers.

Brand Republic, 2009. Poll Claims Football Clubs Must Treat Fans More Like Consumers. [Online]

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[Accessed 16 Jul 2009].

Football sponsors’ brands stick best in young minds. (2005, May 26). Marketing Week (01419285), Retrieved July 16, 2009, from MasterFILE Premier database.

Gratton, C. and Henry, I. P., 2001. Sport in the City: The Role of Sport in Economic and Social Regeneration. New York, NY: Routledge.

Howard, S. and Sayce, R., 1998. Fact Sheet 11: Branding, Sponsorship and Commerce in Football. (Department of Sociology: Sports Resources article for the University of Leicester) [Online] (Updated Aug 2002)

Available at:

[Accessed 16 Jul 2009].

Kemp, E., 2009. Football Shirt Sponsorship Becomes a Buyer’s Market. [Online]

Available at:

[Accessed 16 Jul 2009].

Marketing Week, 2005. Football Sponsors’ Brands Stick Best in Young Minds. [Online] EBSCO Host.

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[Accessed 16 Jul 2009].

Masterman, G., 2007. Sponsorship: For a Return on Investment. Oxford, UK: Elsevier.

Ronay, B., 2008. Who’s Next to Lost their Shirt? [Online]

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[Accessed 16 Jul 2009].