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Brand sponsorship positively correlated to consumer purchase intent


In a survey of 2,000 American Adults (18+), More than Half Reported Being More Likely to Purchase from Sports Sponsors That They Like

Elevent unveils the results of a recent survey of adults in the U.S. designed to uncover the impact of sports sponsorship on consumer perspectives. Key findings include a positive correlation between sponsorship and purchase intent, and that brand commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and an athlete’s issue advocacy are both net positives.

Sponsorship and Purchase Intent

The survey reveals a positive correlation between consumer purchase intent and brand sponsorship of sporting events. When asked how often consumers will buy from companies that are sponsoring a sport or sports organization that they like, 59% responded that they are more likely to purchase from sponsors they like. Moreover, 21% of respondents noted that they chose to do business with a brand only because it sponsors a sport or sporting organization.

In contrast, 15% responded that they have stopped doing business with a brand that sponsors a sport or sports organization that they don’t like. An additional 17% reported that while they have not stopped doing business with a brand based on sponsorship, they have thought about it.

“Sports sponsorship matters to consumers. The results of this survey confirm that – good or bad – brand sports sponsorships and purchase intent are connected,” said Francis Dumais, Managing Partner of Elevent. “As a premier provider of sponsorship intelligence, Elevent is uniquely positioned to gather and analyze data that both consumer and sports brands need to evaluate partnership opportunities. This is why leading brands rely on our sponsorship lifecycle management platform to confidently identify, select, measure, and maximize the ROI of strategic sponsorships.”

Corporate Social Responsibility and Athlete Advocacy

The survey also reveals that CSR and athlete advocacy impact consumer perception, particularly with younger respondents (18-34 years old). When asked to rank 12 of the most important social and economic issues in order of importance, consumers identified human rights, health and wellness, and the environment. The least important issues as identified by the survey include gender equality, access to education, and supporting youth.

When asked how important it is that a professional athlete use their platform to voice personal beliefs and feelings, 51% of consumers responded that it is important, 33% that it is not important, and 16% felt indifferent. When asked about specific advocacy issues, the athlete issues that had the most positive impact on consumers were prioritizing mental health, being vocal about causes they believe in, and publicly admitting addiction challenges. The athlete issues that had the least positive impact on consumers included embracing sexual orientation and admitting marital problems.

Additional Findings

This comprehensive survey uncovered a host of additional consumer perspectives of interest, including:

  1. Runners have a better perception of sports sponsors than the general public – and they are more willing to engage with sponsors at events
  2. Despite the hype, ESports remain niche by the numbers, but fans are more aware, engaged, and responsive to sponsors than the general population.
  3. The top five sports franchises by fanbase are the National Football League (NFL), the Olympics, Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Basketball Association (NBA), and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) out of the 16 franchises listed. Professional cycling and women’s Professional Golf ranked lowest, along with ESports and Women’s Professional Tennis
  4. Stadium naming rights have little to no impact on the sponsor brand for specific sponsors according to two-thirds of the consumers surveyed, and less than one-third of those surveyed were aware of recent stadium naming-rights changes at high-profile NFL, MLB, and NBA stadiums.

Dumais concluded, “While many of the survey findings were in line with expectations, there is no substitute for real-world data when it comes to consumer perception of sponsorship impacts. Likewise, there is no substitute for using real-world data to take the guesswork out of strategic sponsorship investments to maximize ROI.”


Elevent conducted an online survey of adult Americans (18 years of age and over) with 2,000 surveys completed in Q1 2022. The purpose of the survey was to understand how sports sponsorships impact American consumers. The comprehensive survey included questions on a broad range of topics including sports sponsorship impact, CSR and athlete advocacy, stadium naming rights, sports fanbase and more. The results were weighted using Census Bureau data based on age, gender, race, and region of residence of respondents with a margin of error of ±2% (based on probability, with a confidence level of 95%).

To learn more about Elevent, this survey of consumer perspectives on the impact of sports sponsorship, or to arrange a demo of its Sponsorship Lifecycle Management platform, contact [email protected].


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