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Building a sponsor’s equity through brand personality: perceptions of fans and rivals

Charitomeni Tsordia (University of Patras, Patras, Greece)
Dimitra Papadimitriou (University of Patras, Patras, Greece)
Artemisia Apostolopoulou (Robert Morris University, Moon Township, Pennsylvania, USA)

Sport, Business and Management

ISSN: 2042-678X

Article publication date: 11 April 2018

Issue publication date: 24 October 2018



The purpose of this paper is to explore the role of perceived fit and brand personality as means of building the brand equity of the sponsor in a basketball sponsorship setting both for team fans (fans) and fans of a rival team (rivals).


The sponsorship deal between Microsoft (X-BOX), a global software company, and Panathinaikos BC, a popular basketball team located in Athens, Greece, was selected for this examination. Empirical data were collected through self-administered questionnaires from 222 fans and 271 rivals. Structural equation modeling was run to test the research hypotheses.


Results provided evidence that brand personality mediates the effect of fans’ perceived fit evaluations on brand equity variables. No mediation of brand personality was found for rivals, as perceived fit did not significantly affect either positively or negatively any of the brand equity variables for those study participants.

Research limitations/implications

The timing of data collection, which took place a short period after the sponsorship deal was announced, the low degree of rivalry reported as well as the fact that sponsorship activation initiatives were not taken into consideration are seen as limitations of this study. Suggestions for future research that would address each of these limitations are offered.

Practical implications

The study contributed theoretically to sport sponsorship literature by introducing the concept of brand personality as a means to enhance sponsors’ brand equity in a basketball sponsorship setting for both team fans and rivals. Interesting managerial implications have emerged for marketing managers of both sponsors and sponsees.


This is one of the very few studies that propose a process by which sponsors can deal with rivals’ negative associations, uncovering opportunities that may exist for companies in sponsoring competing teams.



Tsordia, C., Papadimitriou, D. and Apostolopoulou, A. (2018), "Building a sponsor’s equity through brand personality: perceptions of fans and rivals", Sport, Business and Management, Vol. 8 No. 5, pp. 454-468.



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