Consumers' responses to sponsorship by foreign companies

Yue Meng-Lewis*, Des Thwaites, Kishore Gopalakrishna Pillai

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The study aims to explore the novel issue of how consumers perceive sponsorship initiatives by foreign companies and how the sponsors' country-of-origin (COO) cue may influence sponsorship outcomes. Design/methodology/approach: The measurement model and proposed relationships were tested based on a sample of 811 Chinese consumers using confirmatory factor analysis and structural path analysis. Findings: The results reveal that attitudes toward the sponsor completely mediate the effect of event involvement on willingness to buy from the sponsor (WBS). Attitudes toward the sponsor also partially mediate the relationship between economic animosity towards a specific sponsor's COO and WBS. Additionally, the level of a country's economic competitiveness found to moderate the negative relationship between economic animosity, attitudes toward the sponsor and WBS. Research limitations/implications: The nature of the product type and the desire of the consumer to own such a product may have influenced the measurement of willingness to buy. Practical implications: The research adds to the existing knowledge by identifying the opportunities and potential biases that a foreign company may encounter when considering sponsoring a mega sport event in a different cultural context. The study helps managers to understand how sports sponsorship could be used effectively in emerging markets. Originality/value: The proposed conceptual model advances the application of classical conditioning theory, the consumer animosity model of foreign product purchase and the belief-attitude-intention hierarchy in the sponsorship arena. It is the first investigation of the role of event involvement and economic animosity in understanding sponsorship responses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1910-1930
Number of pages21
JournalEuropean Journal of Marketing
Issue number11-12
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • attitudes toward the sponsor
  • economic animosity
  • economic competitiveness
  • event involvement
  • sport sponsorship
  • sporting events
  • sports
  • willingness to buy


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