Argues that the general area of commercial sponsorship activity, while attracting increasing interest from marketing practitioners as an important strategic option in marketing communications, has not been the subject of sufficiently rigorous and comprehensive investigation by theoreticians. States the purpose is to establish and consolidate the available body of knowledge combining an overview of the standard conceptual approaches to marketing communication with an examination of the recent academic research in sponsorship, while maintaining a focus on current marketplace practice. Argues for a coherent and structured approach to the management of sponsorship expenditure through the application of a ‘management by objectives’ approach. Parameters are established in terms of a working definition of sponsorship, a review of its commercial development and an overview of current activity. Develops a commercially ration framework within which sponsorship activity may be undertaken. Views objective‐setting as the cornerstone of sponsorship management and outlines a classification of sponsorship objectives that subsumes current practice clarifies the range of potential benefits. Examines the criteria that govern rational sponsorship selection and proposes an evaluation strategy based on stated criteria. Methods of evaluating effects of marketing communications (sponsorship particularly) are examined and new evaluation techniques are advanced to facilitate the implementation of this rigorous scientific approach.
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