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The development of new sponsorship deals as new business-to-business services

Pinelopi Athanasopoulou (Department of Sport Management, University of Peloponnese, Athens, Greece.)
Elena Sarli (Department of Sport Management, University of Peloponnese, Athens, Greece.)

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing

ISSN: 0885-8624

Article publication date: 1 June 2015




The purpose of this paper is to analyse the process followed by sponsors and sport properties in developing their sponsorship deals as seen from a new service development (NSD) perspective. Sponsorships are expensive and can be a source of sustainable competitive advantage if managed appropriately. Therefore, the authors need to approach sponsorship strategically and formalise sponsorship decision-making. Sponsorships are considered to be complex, relationship-based, business-to-business services, and the development of such services has been analysed in the NSD literature. As past research on the development process of sponsorship deals is limited, the use of an NSD perspective can help in formalising sponsorship decision-making.


Four case studies were conducted involving two professional, premier league football clubs and two sponsoring organisations, one major sponsor for each club. One of the dyads involved a brand new sponsorship deal and the other a renewal.


Results showed that in both dyads, the development process of the new service follows the NSD process of other complex, relationship-based, business-to-business services and involves three main phases, namely, information collection, proposal preparation and presentation or receipt and analysis, and negotiations and contract sign. All four firms use a semi-formal and flexible process, whereas the actors in each stage vary. Also, the new deal requires a more lengthy process than the renewal, following the example of really new and me-too services. Multi-functional teams are not present, and top management involvement is important only in the last stage of the process.

Research limitations/implications

This paper helps in analysing the development process of new sponsorship deals, as new business-to-business services. However, it involves only four cases and has limited generalisability. Future research should substantiate results with more cases or quantitative research.

Practical implications

Results can help sponsors and sponsees to structure their processes for successful development of new sponsorship deals. Also, as new sponsorship deals seem to be developed the same way with other business-to-business, complex services, potential sponsors that are big service providers can probably enjoy synergies from using the same or a slightly different process than the one they use for developing their main services. Finally, the use of a semi-formal and flexible process in sponsorship development can be helpful in dealing with customised services and rapid NSD that is critical for new service success.


It is the first time that the development process of sponsorship deals is approached from an NSD perspective and analysed as a new business-to-business service.



Athanasopoulou, P. and Sarli, E. (2015), "The development of new sponsorship deals as new business-to-business services", Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Vol. 30 No. 5, pp. 552-561.



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Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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