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Exploring children’s reactions to sponsorship transition: a study of interpersonal and pro-social demands

Robert James Thomas (Aston Business School, Aston University, Birmingham, UK)
Gareth Reginald Terence White (Faculty of Business and Society, University of South Wales, Pontypridd, UK)
Anthony Samuel (Department of Marketing, Cardiff Business School, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK)

Young Consumers

ISSN: 1747-3616

Article publication date: 24 October 2020

Issue publication date: 5 December 2020




The purpose of this study is to evaluate children’s perceptions and attitudes towards sponsorship transition, specifically the change from Nike to PUMA as kit sponsors for Manchester City Football Club (MCFC) in July 2019.


A sample of 368 children, between 7 and 16 years of age were recruited for the study. Using electronic diaries, 1,577 diary entries were captured between February 2019 and March 2020.


Data reveals that children conceptualise sponsorship as a social exchange, with sponsoring brands seen as human entities and interaction with them reflecting the dynamism of social and familial relationships. Consequently, children in this study demanded prosocial and interpersonal behaviours from sponsors and sponsee during the transition period.

Research limitations/implications

The research has an immediate and direct application for brand managers and the sponsee when considering terminating long-term sponsorship. Both the departing and incoming sponsors can maximise their relationships with these younger fans through an orchestrated departure, arrival and dedicated handover.

Practical implications

The findings enable marketing brand managers to effectively evaluate sponsor transition to maximise opportunities to maintain, and indeed start, brand relationships with younger fans.


This is the first study that has examined sponsorship children’s responses to sponsorship transition.



Thomas, R.J., White, G.R.T. and Samuel, A. (2020), "Exploring children’s reactions to sponsorship transition: a study of interpersonal and pro-social demands", Young Consumers, Vol. 21 No. 4, pp. 419-433.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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