Sponsorship in focus: a typology of sponsorship contexts and research agenda

Thumbnail Image



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title




Purpose – Sponsorship has become an important marketing activity. However, research on the topic treats the sponsorship context, characterized according to the type of sponsored property and the social role of these properties, as a stable characteristic or as a dichotomous characteristic within empirical studies. Therefore, we outline a multi-level typology of the different types of sponsorship contexts to account for traditional types of sponsorship as well as emerging themes such as online sponsorship. We then propose an agenda for future research. Design/methodology/approach – We conduct a general review of the sponsorship literature to synthesise established sponsorship types with newly emerging themes to develop a multi-level typology of sponsorship contexts and a research agenda. Findings – Our conceptual analysis revealed a typology of sponsorship contexts that captures both general and specific types of sport sponsorship, prosocial cause sponsorship, culture and community sponsorship, and media and programming content sponsorship. Research limitations/implications – Our typology provides an organizing framework for future research focusing on different sponsorship contexts. However, the emergent categories still require further empirical testing. Therefore, we develop a set of questions to guide future research on the topic. Practical implications – Our typology outlines the different sponsorship contexts that should be considered by organizations that engage in sponsorship-linked marketing. Originality/value – This paper provides a multi-level categorization of sponsorship contexts that integrates both traditional categories and newly emerging categories to better inform future research on situational differences in sponsorship. Keywords: Sponsorship Context; Sponsorship Property; Sponsee; Cause Marketing; Sports Marketing