Measuring sponsorship effectiveness: examining the connection between fan identification and physiological response to sports sponsorship evaluation after exposure
This dissertation investigates the extent to which exposure to a sponsorship during images from a highly arousing sporting event affects cognitive, affective, and behavioral evaluations of the sponsorship. Additionally, this study examined the role that fan identity to a particular sport has on cognitive capabilities and sponsorship evaluations. Mere exposure and fan identity theories were employed to measure influence on sponsorship outcomes. Despite the quantity of existing conceptualized models regarding sponsorship effectiveness, the advertising field lacks sufficient empirical investigation of interaction effects, particularly in a controlled environment. An experiment was employed to empirically examine how exposure to different types of sponsors, (both functionally congruent and incongruent to the sport) impacted recall, recognition, attitude, and purchase intentions, while gauging an individual's fan identity and emotion (pleasure and arousal) during the event. Self-report was used to measure emotion (pleasure and arousal), and psychophysiology measures were used to collect physiological arousal, a measurement all but absent in fan identification and sponsorship research. Immediate exposure to a sponsor had no impact on evaluations; however, fan identification to the sport was a significant predictor for sponsorship success. Furthermore, sponsors that were functionally congruent to the sport received more favorable evaluations than those that were functionally incongruent. Differentiating congruency in terms of its functionally rather that articulation added a new level and definition to consider when examining sponsorship effectiveness. Lastly, the results contradicted previous studies, finding that no relationship existed between psychophysiological arousal and recall and recognition in this study. The results could be due to the length of time of exposure or the stimuli type, warranting future research. In terms of fan identification, the study supports previous tenets of fan identification to a sport that is moving from niche to mainstream status. Secondly, one's fan identification to the sport is less influenced by geographical location and community affiliation, antecedents that were previously labeled as strong predictors for one's identification. Fan identification is a strong predictor for all UFC-related consumption, involvement, liking, and self-reported arousal. Interestingly though, this study found differences between levels of physiological arousal and one's level of identification--but not in the same direction as previous studies. Low identified fans showed higher levels of physiological arousal than highly identified fans, suggesting that either the novelty or arousing nature of the sport superseded identity, warranting future areas of research. Lastly, this study shows support for the role that fan identification and sponsorship congruency have on sponsorship success. The findings in this experiment support conceptualized models, as well as empirical findings using other quantitative methods, such as surveys.