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How can changing sponsor affect performance


When sponsorship deals are up for renewal, we often see a tide of change when it comes to the organization’s partnerships. And that brings about a communications problem: the public continuing to associate the event with the previous sponsor.

Given that brand recognition is the key benefit of sponsorship, this is bad news for a new partner, and it has serious repercussions on how a property and a new sponsor approach the partnership.

This phenomenon is especially problematic when it comes to major sponsors, including title sponsors, but its effects are felt on all partners.

Former sponsors can cast a long shadow on the communications efforts of new partners. As a rule, new partners must understand that former sponsors will continue to benefit from the sponsorship even after parting ways with the property.

In fact, the longer the association with a property, the longer the effects of the association will last—up to seven years after the end of the partnership.

Key findings:

  • The study notes that the first sponsor of a new annual event has increased equity
  • Becoming a lower level sponsor after being a title sponsor enables a brand to communicate and maintain the awareness of a more prominent partner
  • New sponsors are more susceptible to ambush marketing

What to do:

  • To overcome the phenomenon of erroneous association, new sponsors must develop a unique platform with the partnership
  • It’s important to invest heavily in the activation and communicate with the public often to establish a connection between the brand and the property


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Original text: Change in a Sponsorship Alliance and the Communication Implications of Spontaneous Recovery

Anna R. McAlister, Sarah J. Kelly, Michael S. Humphreys, and T. Bettina Cornwell. “Change in a Sponsorship Alliance And The Communication implications of Spontaneous Recovery,” Journal of Advertising, vol. 41, no. 1 (Spring 2012), pp. 5–16.


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