Date of Award


Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Business


School of Business

First Advisor

Dr Margaret Linehan


The purpose of this research is to examine the management of sports sponsorship in Ireland from the perspective of the sponsoring company and the sports property, and to present an accurate, up-to-date analysis of this relatively unexplored area. Four interviews were conducted with executives of major sports properties while four interviews were also conducted with executives of commercial sponsors who sponsor these sports properties.

The study reveals that Irish sports sponsorships are very well managed and are considered to be very successful by both sponsors and sports properties. The strength of the interpersonal relationships and understanding between both parties is identified by all as the driving force for the delivery of successful sports sponsorships. This sense of partnership also contributes to the existence of several long-term sponsorships. The results of the present research, however, reveal that amateur sports properties are at a disadvantage in terms of sponsorship negotiations, management, and fulfilment as they have few full-time staff, and these have limited specialist marketing or sponsorship expertise. The research findings reveal that there is an imbalance of power in the sponsorship relationship between the amateur sports properties and the companies, in terms of experience, staff expertise and finance.

The findings of this research further highlight that a major financial contribution is central to all of the sports sponsorships with additional accompanying benefits in kind frequently offered. The level of leverage and activation varies from minimal to a one for one ratio. The incidence of ambush marketing is low and is attributed to the extremely good working relationships between the parties and very strict contract clauses in some instances.

This research suggests that the evaluation of the sports sponsorship varies, both internal matrices and external consultants are used to evaluate the sponsorship. There is a general reluctance by both parties to conduct intensive evaluation and none of the sponsorship finance is used for evaluation purposes. Despite this, there is unanimous consensus from all parties that their current sports sponsorship agreements are mutually beneficial and highly successful.

Finally, the research suggests that the nature of sports sponsorship is changing rapidly due to technological advancements and the advent of social media. In future, sponsorship programmes will have to deliver experiential fan engagement opportunities to more discerning consumers.

Access Level


Included in

Business Commons