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Sponsorship image transfer theory in virtual brand communities

Manuel Alonso Dos Santos (Department of Administration, Universidad Catolica de la Santisima Concepcion, Concepcion, Chile)
Francisco Rejón Guardia (Universidad de las Islas Baleares, Mallorca, Spain)
Ferran Calabuig Moreno (Department of Physical Education and Sports, Universitat de Valencia Facultat de Ciencies de l’Activitat Fisica i l’Esport, Valencia, Spain)

Industrial Management & Data Systems

ISSN: 0263-5577

Article publication date: 3 August 2018

Issue publication date: 13 August 2018




The purpose of this paper is to assess the influences and efficiency of a sports sponsorship in an online brand community.


The study was conducted through interviews with 609 social network users of a Spanish first league soccer team. The partial least squares (PLS) methodology was applied with a posteriori segmentation (PLS prediction-oriented segmentation (POS)).


The attitude toward the sponsor helps to assess the efficiency of sponsorships between companies. This variable is particularly relevant for evaluating sponsorship efficiency in online brand communities. Improving trust and assessing the sense of membership directly improves attitudes toward the team and the sponsored brands. The attitude toward the sponsor has a direct and positive impact on the purchase intentions. The use of a posteriori segmentation with the PLS–POS technique helps discriminate between groups.

Research limitations/implications

Among the limitations encountered, further study would require using a sample of various sports disciplines and cultures.

Practical implications

Specific actions and communication strategies are defined for each segment and in general to adapt communication strategies that improve identification with virtual brand communities. The study has revealed involvement-related differences resulting from the impact that engagement with the sponsored team may have on the assessed relationships.


The study of the effects of sponsorship and the use of a posteriori variables user segmentation in an online brand community are used.



Alonso Dos Santos, M., Rejón Guardia, F. and Calabuig Moreno, F. (2018), "Sponsorship image transfer theory in virtual brand communities", Industrial Management & Data Systems, Vol. 118 No. 6, pp. 1287-1302.



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