Ethical Sponsorship and Advertising in Sport

Ethical Sponsorship and Advertising in Sport         
Prepared by  Prepared by: Dr Ralph Richards, Senior Research Consultant, NSIC/Clearinghouse, Australian Sports Commission
evaluated by  Evaluation by: Victorian Health Promotion Foundation, VicHealth (June 2016)
Reviewed by  Reviewed by network: Australian Sport Information Network (AUSPIN)
Last updated  Last updated:  27 September 2017
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Introduction

Sponsorship, in most cases, is not meant to be philanthropy; it is a mutually beneficial business arrangement. In the competitive sponsorship environment of sport, a company wishing to align their brand with a sport does so to gain a host of economic, public relations and product placement advantages. Sponsors also hope to leverage their association with an athlete, team, league, or the sport itself to gain public trust, acceptance, or alignment with the perceived image a sport has created or acquired.

In return, sports receive financial benefit for their association with a company, product or campaign. There are usually additional non-financial advantages to be gained as a consequence of a sport’s association with a sponsor.

Advertising may be linked to sponsorship or act as a stand-alone investment strategy by a company or organisation. In contrast, a company may choose not to sponsor a sport or team, but purchase parallel advertising at a sports venue or during broadcasting of that sport’s events. Thus, the association between a company or product and a sport or event may not always be under the control of the sport or team because venue or broadcast advertising may not be the same as the sponsorship of the athletes or teams competing. 


Key Messages 

1

Brand association between sport and sponsor is intended to link the public perception of the two entities.

2

Product usage, or misuse, that may result in personal or social harm raises ethical concerns.

3

Government regulation, voluntary industry practice, and the decisions made by sports are options for limiting the potential consequences of product use, overuse, or misuse that may cause personal or social harm.




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