I think what they want is exposure': The sponsorship dynamics of local, grass-roots sport
Faculty of Business and Public Management
School of Marketing, Tourism and Leisure
The strong links between corporate sponsorship and sport are very evident in contemporary sporting practice. Studies have identified that the sponsorship of elite sport is linked to a range of corporate objectives. Research examining the sponsorship of sport at a local, grass-roots level, however, is scant. Using a case study of hockey in Newcastle, Australia, this paper examines the dynamics of sponsorship within grass-roots sport. It is argued that one of the key differences between the sponsorship of elite and local sport lies in the target market of the sponsor and the amount of money that they are able to invest. In this study it is identified that there are two main types of sponsorship arrangements (including once-off funding for the purchase of playing shirts, and annual funding for the reduction of fees and/or ancillary costs), and that sponsorship occurs for the two main reasons of publicity or brand awareness, and increased sales opportunities. This paper also points out that there are possible constraining features of the sport-sponsor relationship and indicates that, in some cases, the absence of sponsorship may actually be a preferable option for club members.