Sports Sponsorship: Fan Loyalty and Perception of the Lake County Captains Minor League Baseball Team

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Weissman, Mark Daniel
sports management; Medicine and Health Sciences
thesis / dissertation description
Sports sponsorship is a multi-billion dollar industry that takes place at all levels of sport. Each sponsorship comes with a different level of exposure for the sponsoring company. In most cases, the cost of the sponsorship has a significant relationship to the level of exposure received. Numerous studies have been conducted to assess fans' perception of sponsorship in sport. However, the majority of these studies were conducted at the professional or intercollegiate level. More than 41 million people attended Minor League Baseball games in 2012, and this number was higher than both the National Basketball Association and National Football League attendance combined for that year. This study assessed brand loyalty, perception, receptiveness, and recollection of fans of the Lake County Captains minor league baseball team on the companies that sponsor the team. It was hypothesized that there would be significant differences in the awareness of sponsorship, perception of brand loyalty, perception of sponsorship, and receptiveness of sponsorship (1) between Lake County Captains fans and non-fans, (2) between males and females, (3) among different education levels of spectators, and (4) among participants with different household incomes. Two hundred and ninety-two participants (163 females and 126 males) completed this study. Participants completed the questionnaire, which included a demographics section, a question about team allegiance, and two Likert scales testing participants' perception and knowledge about sponsors of the team in relation to: Sponsorship, Brand Loyalty, Perception, Receptiveness, and Sponsorship Recollection. One-way MANOVAs were used to assess the impact of allegiance, gender, education, and income on spectators' opinions of sponsorship, brand loyalty, perception, and receptiveness. Follow-up univariate ANOVAs were used to examine significant differences of each demographic among all the measuring variables. The results showed that the majority (76 ) of fans either follo