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A research agenda at the intersection of sport sponsorship and service

T. Bettina Cornwell (University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon, USA)
Abby Frank (Department of Marketing, Charles H. Lundquist College of Business, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon, USA)
Rachel Miller-Moudgil (University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon, USA)

Journal of Service Management

ISSN: 1757-5818

Article publication date: 16 May 2023

Issue publication date: 11 January 2024




The purpose of this work is (1) to supply a framework of actors in sport sponsorship and articulate the service relationships that support these partnerships and (2) to propose research questions in this space that are unaddressed and forward-looking.


Sponsorship is part of a complex network of actors and service relationships found in sport. The sports team, activity, or event is a sport property, often with long-term and dynamic service relationships. The authors consider how a sponsor's relationship with the sport property intersects with organizing bodies, venues, communities and society. The authors identify clusters of actors that interact with and influence other clusters (e.g. governing bodies, media, host community and venue/teams/fans) within an ecosystem, paying special attention to aspects of co-creation and co-destruction and the feedback loops that cause them.


Through this analysis, the authors identify areas of needed research at the intersection of sport sponsorship and service. The model synthesizes the literature from service-dominant logic, sports, sponsorship, systems thinking and co-creation/co-destruction research areas. Using the model and relevant cases, the authors can better understand the complexities of sport service relationships and advance research at the intersection of sport sponsorship and service.


This is the first sport sponsorship service ecosystem model. It is also the first integration of systems thinking with constructs in sport sponsorship and services.



This paper forms part of a special section “The Sport x Service Experience: an opportunity for sport service management research”, guest edited by Dr. Thilo Kunkel and Dr. Daniel Funk.

The first author gratefully acknowledges support from her Philip H. Knight Chair.


Cornwell, T.B., Frank, A. and Miller-Moudgil, R. (2024), "A research agenda at the intersection of sport sponsorship and service", Journal of Service Management, Vol. 35 No. 1, pp. 108-126.



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