Recreation and Sport Studies

Studying, Experiencing and Facilitating Kinesiology, Recreation and Sport through Wellness and Physical Activity

Sport Sponsorship and its Influence on Children

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by Emily Mallett, Sarah Mazerolle, and Emily Underhill

What is sport sponsorship?

Sport sponsorship is defined as the financial backing from a sponsoring company (i.e., sponsor) to a sport, sport team, or sport player (i.e., sponsee) to create an association among the sponsor, sponsee, and sport fans and to achieve the marketing objectives of the sponsoring company.  Globally, sponsorship is one of the fastest growing forms of marketing, an estimated 75% of all sponsorship arrangements are for sport.

The following four article help explain why and how certain sponsorhips have a negative influence on children between the ages of 5-14.

Article 1:
Bridget, K., Baur, L.A., Bauman, A.E., King, L., Chipman, K., Smith, B.J., & Shaimaa, S. (2011). Role modelling unhealthy behaviors: Food and drink sponsorship of peak sporting organisations. Health Promotion Journal of Australia, 22(1), 72-75.
  • Defined the nature and scope of food and beverage sponsors and their impact/influence on children
  • This article found that there is a link between marketing of unhealthy food and beverage in sport sponsorship with the obesity problem among youth today.
  • Results: 73% were associated with companies that did not meet criteria for healthy sponsors.
  • Our discussion question for this article was: Are food and beverage sponsors giving children the wrong impression? Why or why not?
Article 2:
Bridget, K., Baur, L.A., Bauman, A.E., King, L., Chipman, K., & Smith, B.J. (2012). Restricting unhealthy food sponsorship: Attitudes of the sporting community. Health Promotion Journal of Australia, 104(3), 288-295.
  • The article looked at sport organizations and events that have unhealthy food and beverage sponsors in Australia
  • In 2010, the WHO released a set of recommendations for limiting the marketing of unhealthy food and beverages to children.  One key recommendation was to limit marketing in sport settings and events like the Olympics.
  • Solution: restrict the use of company logos on uniforms at all levels of sport unless they met certain healthy requirements
  • To generate discussion we asked: Do you agree with this article that we should be restricting unhealthy food sponsorship by providing strict guidelines to follow? Why or why not? What are some solutions to limit “unhealthy” sport sponsorship?
Article 3:
Grohs, R., Wagner, U., & Steiner, R. (2012). An investigation of children’s ability to identify sponsors and understand sponsorship intentions. Psychology & Marketing, 29(11), 907-917.
  • This article examines children’s perceptions of sponsor and their perception of sport sponsorship (ability to understand the sponsors intentions)
  • Activity-sponsor “fit” defined as the fit between a sponsor and the sponsored activity like a sport and its sponsor.
  • Evidence of high activity-sponsor fit = greatest positive impact on children and their brand awareness and association with the activity and sponsor
  • Do you agree or disagree with the “fit” approach to sport sponsorship and why? What would you consider to be a healthy sponsorship fit? (examples)
Article 4:
Bridget, K., Baur, L.A., Bauman, A.E., & King, L. (2011). Tobacco and alcohol sponsorship of sporting events provide insights about how food and beverage sponsorship may affect children’s health. Health Promotion Journal of Australia, 22(2), 91-96.
  • This paper examined the scope and potential effects on children of unhealthy food and beverage sponsorship.
  • Do you think unhealthy food and beverage companies can be compared to alcohol and tobacco companies in the sport setting?  Why or why not?
Our opinion as RSS professionals?
  • By limiting unhealthy food and beverage sponsorship in the sporting world it will help to lower the negative impact that these sponsors can have on children.
  • By establishing a set of standards for sport organizations, teams, and athletes can follow to ensure sponsorship is positive for children would be the best approach.
  • Limiting logos on team uniforms, stadiums, and commercial adds of what is deemed unhealthy sponsors would also reduce their negative influences on children.

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