Date of Award


Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts


Media Communications

First Advisor

Emmet Coffey

Second Advisor

Frank O'Donovan


This study is concerned with the role and position of sponsorship, specifically sponsorship of the arts, in public relations. It aims to add to the, as yet considerably sparse, body of knowledge that exists on arts sponsorships from the perspective of the public relations practitioner.

The literature reveals that while sponsorship is used as a vehicle for public relations. it is often activated as part of an integrated marketing and public relations communications campaign. It also highlights the importance of planned communication based on organisational objectives and the different approaches to public relations including relational theory and rhetorical theory. Both of these perspectives can be applied to sponsorship strategies where the focus is on stakeholder relationships and corporate identity respectively.

The research methodology employed was of a qualitative nature and features semistructured interviews as a basis for primary data collection. ln order to cover a broad knowledge base, interviews were conducted with public relations professionals, corporate sponsorship managers, and arts and culture event organisers.

A central theme of this study is to question why organisations choose to sponsor in the arts and culture sector and what benefits can be derived from such a sponsorship partnership. Research findings conclude that arts sponsorships are often profit driven where the bottom line is to increase sales. However, it can also be concluded that organisations engage in sponsorship of the arts as a means of enhancing their corporate reputation. By generating goodwill towards the corporate personality, arts sponsorships provide creative opportunities and emotional links for corporations within the local community.

As a public relations tool, arts sponsorship must therefore be recognised as a strategic business arrangement involving professional relationship management, contract law and media engagement. This study provides public relations practitioners with a means of improving awareness of, and engagement in, arts sponsorship opportunities.

Access Level