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The relationships of communication intensity, CEO commitment, cause fit and media reputation: evidence from Chinese marathon title sponsors

Shanshan Lu (Hefei University of Technology, Hefei, China)
Weiwei Zhu (Hefei University of Technology, Hefei, China)
Jiuchang Wei (University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, China)

International Journal of Sports Marketing and Sponsorship

ISSN: 1464-6668

Article publication date: 29 May 2020

Issue publication date: 6 April 2021




This research aims to explore ways to build a corporate media reputation by sponsoring a sports event (i.e. a marathon), by examining the effects of communication intensity, CEO commitment and cause fit that are most conducive to helping a sponsor gain media reputation benefits.


An empirical study of 122 Chinese marathon title sponsorships is employed that explores the relationship between sponsorship attributes and media reputation construction from the perspective of cause-related marketing theory. Hypotheses are tested with hierarchical regression and interaction analysis.


The results show that a high level of sponsorship communication intensity, the proximity of the sponsor to a sport property, the level of CEO commitment and the level of cause fit contribute to the media reputation of enterprise sponsors. Further analysis also reveals the different interaction effects of technical fit and institutional fit in the process.

Practical implications

This research has practical implications related to sport sponsorship management for event organizers and business operators that seek to promote the healthy and dynamic operations of the sponsor market. Several suggestions for future studies and strategies to increase the media reputation benefits can be drawn from the results of this paper. Sports sponsoring is a process of system engineering and strategic planning, and the integration and coordination of various types of resources are needed.


This study advances the current research about the impact of sponsorship attributes on the media reputation of sports sponsors. The differentiation and exploration of the two kinds of cause fit (i.e. technical fit and institutional fit) expand the dimension of fit in the field of sponsorship. Furthermore, this research provides an in-depth understanding of the mechanism that determines the media reputation benefits that sponsors can reap from a property's activities.



This work was supported by the Humanities and Social Sciences Project of Chinese Ministry of Education (No. 20YJCZH109) and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (No.JS2019HGXJ0018 and No.JZ2019HGBZ0154). The authors would like to express their gratitude to the valuable comments of the anonymous reviewers.Declaration of interest statement: The authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest regarding the publication of this paper.


Lu, S., Zhu, W. and Wei, J. (2021), "The relationships of communication intensity, CEO commitment, cause fit and media reputation: evidence from Chinese marathon title sponsors", International Journal of Sports Marketing and Sponsorship, Vol. 22 No. 2, pp. 220-239.



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