How do sport and eSport enthusiasts perceive brand image? : A study in the context of sponsorship
Sammanfattning: In October 2017, the Olympic Committee rendered official its decision to consider electronic sports (eSports) as sports. The global eSports market was valued at nearly 493 million U.S. dollars in 2016, with 80% of the revenues coming from sponsorship. Sponsorship has become an important matter for organizations, since it can be a powerful tool to establish or change a company’s brand image; indeed, more than 600 sponsorship agreements were signed in 2016 in the eSport industry. This paper aims at finding out how do sport and eSport enthusiasts differ in their perception of the brand image of a sponsoring brand. The study was conducted by using combined research methods. First, we used a qualitative approach with semi-structured interviews, in order to get a better understanding of the general context. Then a questionnaire was used to fully understand the differences and similarities between sport and eSport enthusiasts, and to identify the variables that impact the sponsorship response (measured by favour, interest, and use). The variables studied were event image, perceived fit, attitudes towards the brand as a sponsor, brand personality, brand associations, self-concepts and brand identification. The results show that sport enthusiasts are more impacted by factors such as brand identification and self-concepts, while brand associations matter for both groups.
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