Get access

Metrics in Sponsorship Research—Is Credibility an Issue?


Correspondence regarding this article should be sent to: Tony Meenaghan, Graduate School of Business, University College Dublin, Blackrock Co Dublin, Ireland (


Sponsorship has been one of the fastest growing marketing platforms in recent decades, yet while marketing expenditures generally are being increasingly subjected to the requirement and discipline of accountability, it would seem that sponsorship practice behaves as if impervious to this changed climate. Considering both the extent to which business fails to measure sponsorship effectiveness at all and where measured, the problematic nature of the metrics employed, it is probably an understatement to conclude that a “measurement deficit” exists in sponsorship. This paper proposes a critique of current practice in the evaluation of sponsorship effectiveness and in particular examines in detail inherent problems arising from the use of the two main metrics currently employed by the industry, “Media Exposure” and “Sponsorship Awareness.” It illustrates the latitude provided by these metrics and the variability of outcomes that can be extracted from their use or in some cases potential abuse. Such latitude in conceptualization and application can extend to having the same sponsorship program receive quite radically different evaluations based on the same raw data. This raises serious questions about the credibility and effectiveness of current sponsorship measurement. The paper further suggests that in order to secure the future of sponsorship and exploit its competitive media advantage, there is a need for the industry to reposition itself in terms of delivering brand experience, engagement, and involvement rather than mere exposure.

Get access to the full text of this article