The purpose of this paper is to examine a possible negative spillover effect in sports sponsorship to answer whether the sponsored team’s poor performance will have a negative effect on audiences’ trust in its sponsor’s brand. The authors further analysed whether the audience’s attitude towards the team plays a mediating role and whether the audience’s personality type (active vs passive) plays a moderating role in this negative spillover effect.
Three experimental studies were conducted with 380 Chinese undergraduates and MBA student participants over two years. The authors designed the experiment as a computer-mediated intervention in which good, poor and neutral performance groups were compared. After the respondents were exposed to the intervention, we asked them to answer questions using a computer terminal. We analysed the data from the three experiments through analysis of variance (ANOVA), regression analysis and a bootstrap.
The audiences who were exposed to a team’s poor performance condition reported less trust in the sponsor’s brand relative to those exposed to a good performance condition, and the brand trust was even lower than for those who were exposed to a control condition (no performance information). Further, the audience’s negative attitude towards the sports team mediated the negative effect of the team’s poor performance on its sponsor’s brand trust. The negative effect was more obvious for individuals with Type A personalities (active) than for those with Type B personalities (passive).
The prior literature has neglected a possible negative effect of a sports team’s performance on its sponsor’s brand trust. In particular, questions of whether, how and when this negative effect occurs are critical for sponsors, teams, and audiences. Since sports team sponsorship is burgeoning in China, the negative implications are unclear in this new context. Thus, the revelation that the negative spillover effects of a team’s poor performance on audiences’ trust in the sponsor’s brand provides two original contributions. First, the negative effect reveals value for multiple sponsorship stakeholders. Second, the Chinese context in this study adds value for future research and practice regarding both Chinese-foreign and domestic Chinese decisions.
Financial support to the first author from the Liaoning Planning Office of Philosophy and Social Science (Grant No. L16CGL010) and Liaoning Provincial Federation Social Science Circles (Grant Nos 2019lslktqn-007) and to the second author from the LiaoNing Revitalization Talents Program is gratefully acknowledged.
Yuan, S., Huo, C. and Malik, T.H. (2019), "The negative spillover effect in sports sponsorship: An experiment examining the impact of team performance on sponsor’s brand trust", International Journal of Sports Marketing and Sponsorship, Vol. 20 No. 3, pp. 477-494. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSMS-01-2018-0003
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