University of Oulu

Sponsorship of individual athletes in relation to the company’s marketing strategy

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Author: Penttinen, Joni1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Oulu Business School, Department of Marketing, Marketing
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.8 MB)
Pages: 67
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Oulu : J. Penttinen, 2022
Publish Date: 2022-03-17
Thesis type: Master's thesis
Tutor: Lehtimäki, Tuula
Reviewer: Komulainen, Hanna
Lehtimäki, Tuula


Sports marketing is constantly evolving and its importance as a marketing tool is strengthening worldwide. As a result, sponsorship of individual athletes and personal brands have become strategic marketing tools for companies. The marketing strategy of companies should follow and support the overall strategy of the company, therefore marketing measures, such as, sponsorship should also follow and support the overall strategy. Previous research has examined sponsorship from the perspective of value creation as well as from the perspective of how sponsorship affects the corporate image and the benefits of sponsorship for stakeholders. In terms of strategy, sponsorship has been examined from the perspective of what kind of sponsorship strategies companies have. Sponsorship in general and the sponsorship of individual athletes as its sub-theme are still very little studied themes in Finland. Therefore, comprehensive data is required on how sponsorship can be utilized as a strategic tool in marketing.

The aim of the study is to investigate how the sponsorship of individual athletes in Finland is linked to the marketing strategy of companies. Interviewing Finnish companies is of primary importance for researching this topic.

The research follows an abductive process, which means that the existing literature is studied first, and the empirical analysis is conducted based on the formed theoretical framework. The research is a qualitative multiple-case study, and the empirical data is collected through five semi-structured interviews with company representatives of large and medium-sized enterprises of various business sectors.

Based on the data, companies perceive individual athlete sponsorship either as an embedded part of a marketing strategy, as partially embedded marketing measure, or as not in relation to marketing strategy. This is influenced by factors, such as, industry, the size of the sponsorship agreement, the athletes’ own motivation, and the companies’ ability or inability to utilize individual athletes in the company’s marketing communications. Sponsorship of individual athletes was seen as a regionally significant factor from the perspective of corporate social responsibility.

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Copyright information: © Joni Penttinen, 2022. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.