Conceptualizing Ambush Marketing: Developing a Typology of Ambush Strategy and Exploring the Managerial Implications for Sport Sponsors

  • Nicholas Burton

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    As sport sponsorship has grown in importance and sophistication over the past three decades, so too have the efforts made by un-associated brands to capitalize on the financial benefits and media value provided by sport. By offering would-be sponsors an alternative means of associating with an event without the substantial expense of securing an official partnership, ambush marketing has become a major threat to the investments made by official sponsors, cluttering the marketing environment surrounding sponsorship and challenging sponsors for consumer attention and awareness. Unfortunately, our understanding of ambushing and its impact on the management of sponsorship programmes has been limited by the predominantly a theoretical, outdated perspective of ambush marketing espoused by commercial rights holders and event organizers.

    This study presents a conceptual examination of ambush marketing, providing a theoretical investigation of the nature, role, strategy and impact of ambush marketing and a renewed perspective of ambush marketing as a form of marketing
    communications. Contemporary ambush marketing represents a strategic alternative to official sponsorship, which offers a brand access to consumer attention and awareness by creating an affiliation, whether implicit or explicit, with an event or property. This previously unexplored complexity and diversity has informed the construction and development of a typology of ambush strategy which contemporizes past ambush marketing research and affords new insight into the role and evolution of ambush
    marketing, and its impact on sport sponsorship management. The development of a theoretical conceptualization of ambush marketing represents an integral step in the advancement of the academic study of ambushing, and affords the opportunity to better understand the impact of ambushing on sponsorship and to further explore the nature of ambush marketing.
    Date of Award2012
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Coventry University
    SupervisorSimon Chadwick (Supervisor)

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