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A study of the effectiveness of marathon sponsorship as an enabler of brand extension
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A total of R4.8 billion was spent on sports sponsorship in South Africa in 2008, while a remarkable increase in sports sponsorship indicates that research, which deals with studying effectiveness of sports sponsorship, is essential. Moreover, brand extension was considered as a means to assist brand revitalisation and revival; however, in order to render brand extension implementation successful proved another important aspect of this research. Therefore, this research answers the question: can marathon sponsorships help sponsors to achieve effective and successful brand extensions? This study applied quantitative methodology as its research design. A self-administered questionnaire was designed for the survey and quota sampling was implemented in the research. A sample of 122 athletes who ran the full marathon at the Weskus Marathon was collected at the venue where athletes collected their running numbers on 5th of March 2010 for the following day’s race. This process continued until the researcher had asked 122 athletes for their cooperation to complete the questionnaires. The responses indicated that marathon athletes agreed that: first, a qualified marathon enhances the sponsor's brand image; second, the sponsor's brand was visible at the previous event; third, I can recall the sponsor’s brand of the most recent marathon in which I participated (excluding current marathon); fourth, sponsoring the marathon enhanced my awareness of the sponsor's brand/product; and last, it is good to have the same sponsor sponsoring a marathon continuously. Conversely, the responses also illustrated that the marathon athletes were neutral towards the following research statements: firstly, participating in marathons that have high media coverage; then, I will buy a new product in addition to the brand, which sponsored the marathon; and finally, my experience of the marathon will influence my decision to buy a new product in addition to the brand, which sponsored the marathon. Hence, the research explored the hypothesis that marathon sponsorship can be utilized as an effective way to achieve brand extension. Furthermore, regarding brand extensions and marathon sponsorships, male athletes of the Afrikaner or English culture who use English as their home language, think that marathon sponsorships will be effective for brand extensions. Such athletes are normally around 41 to 50 years old, are professional, managerial and are involved in other work such as administrative, marketing, skilled craft, self employed and so on, and have a higher education – postgraduate diploma/degree, while their running years range from 3 to 5 years.