Title

Attitudes of Professional Volleyball Players Toward Sports Sponsors and Sponsorship Practices in the United States

Date of Degree

12-2003

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Program

Education

Advisor

Richard L. Henderson

Advisor

Dorothy Ettling

Advisor

Nancy Robbins

Advisor

Susan C. Blackwood

Abstract

This study examined the impact of sports sponsorship on selected athletes’ attitudes toward their sponsors and sponsorship practices, as well as sponsors’ influence on team morale and perceived level of play. Selected players who had experience playing professional volleyball provided demographic information regarding gender, age, education level, number of years spent playing professional volleyball, income earned from playing professional volleyball, and occupation. Through individual semi-structured interviews, participants provided their perspectives on the positive and negative aspects of sponsors and sponsorship practices. In addition, they responded to questions about their reactions toward corporate sponsors with positive and negative images. They were also asked to assess the impact of sponsorship on team morale and their perceptions of the effect on level of play. The analysis of the results indicated that the participants were willing to tolerate many of the negative aspects of sponsorships in exchange for the material benefits of sponsorship. This study provided alternative analyses of the participants’ comments, by challenging the traditional assumption that sponsorship is strictly a financial relationship. Finally, this study proposes a relationship-oriented model and also makes recommendations for further research.

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