A systematic review of sports sponsorship for public health and social marketing

Krzysztof Kubacki (Department of Marketing, Social Marketing @ Griffith, Griffith Health Institute, Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia)
Erin Hurley (Department of Marketing, Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia)
Sharyn Robyn Rundle-Thiele (Department of Marketing, Griffith Business School, Griffith University, Nathan, Australia)

Journal of Social Marketing

ISSN: 2042-6763

Publication date: 2 January 2018



This paper aims to provide a systematic review of evaluations of public health and social marketing campaigns reporting the use of sports sponsorship. Sports sponsorship is a key health promotion strategy, yet academic literature on the use of sponsorship in social marketing and public health is surprisingly limited.


Seventeen studies were identified following systematic literature review procedures.


Coupling of social marketing and public health sponsorship with changes in policies in sporting clubs and associations offers an effective means to achieve desired outcomes, e.g. behaviour change.

Research limitations/implications

The analysis presented in this review included information that was reported in the identified studies, which might be an incomplete representation of work undertaken but not reported. All of the studies identified in this review were conducted in English-speaking countries. Considerable opportunity for future research is apparent, and areas for future research are outlined.

Practical implications

Limited evidence was available, and additional research examining the effectiveness of sponsorship in attaining behavioural change is urgently needed. Future studies should assess the role, scope of involvement in, aims and benefits of non-government sponsors of public health and social marketing campaigns; use methods that do not rely on self-reporting, such as observations; and explore the influence of health sponsorship on attitudes, social norms and behaviours.


This is the first study to provide a systematic review of the use of sports sponsorship in public health and social marketing.



Kubacki, K., Hurley, E. and Rundle-Thiele, S. (2018), "A systematic review of sports sponsorship for public health and social marketing", Journal of Social Marketing, Vol. 8 No. 1, pp. 24-39. https://doi.org/10.1108/JSOCM-01-2017-0001

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