Sponsorship of Major Sport Events: A Creating Shared Value Approach

  • David Cook

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    As societies face mounting challenges and businesses experience increasing scrutiny of their methods and practices, the idea of creating shared value (CSV) has gained eminence for its ability to enable companies to simultaneously enhance their competitive market performance whilst also facilitate improvements in society. Against this backdrop, within a sport domain, sponsor firms invest significant sums in utilising the marketable potential of major sport events (MSEs), which can provide a setting for value co-creation by promoting and enabling resource exchange and integration between different actors. However, both sponsors and MSEs have encountered criticism due to a series of malpractices and scandals. This has led to rising levels of scepticism of the benefits of MSEs, the motives of sponsors, and for some to question whether sponsorship revenues and event platforms could be mobilised more beneficially – for the betterment of the organisations themselves and for society. In this regard, as CSV implies a long-term investment, it offers a progression of corporate social responsibility (CSR) by allowing the creation of incremental value as opposed to redeploying existing value, involves the value co-creation contributions of other actors, and underpins core business strategy. Although CSV offers societal opportunities for sponsors and MSEs, scarce conceptual analysis and empirical studies exist and modes to harness CSV and its potential benefits within the sport ecosystem are underexplored. Consequently, this thesis investigates how business organisations can concurrently strengthen their respective competitive positioning and create shared value for society via an actor engagement platform. Expressly, the study explores how sponsors and MSEs can create shared value with a range of other actors to produce mutually beneficial outcomes, which may have a continuing effect within the wider ecosystem. The study was split into two phases: a pilot stage (n=10) to preliminarily analyse and subsequently develop a proposed, literature-based conceptual model, followed by a main study (n=25), in order to help refine the model and gain a more profound understanding of the process of creating shared value and associated outcomes for actors involved in MSEs. Both phases utilised semi-structured interviews of senior industry practitioners with a sponsorship remit and were analysed using a reflexive thematic analysis approach, utilising the benefits of both manual and CAQDAS-based (NVivo) coding strategies. All interviews were conducted before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic (pilot study: 11th May - 17th July, 2018; main study: 31st January - 30th April, 2019). The results highlight the importance of organisational capabilities, organisational consistency, and cultivation in the creation of shared value. In addition, a symbiotic relationship and the lengthof the sponsorship relationship were recognised as playing a role in driving CSV outcomes for MSEs, sponsors, and other key actors including host citizens, athletes, and consumers. The study provides important contributions to knowledge: First, the development of a conceptual framework for understanding CSV in MSEs helps to reveal the importance of business relationships in the value creation process, illustrates value co-creation within a sport ecosystem, provides further elaboration on the internal and external factors influencing CSV, and how value can be created and distributed amongst associated actors. Second, the establishment of a definition of CSV through sponsorship via the identification of a series of CSV sub-codes allows clarification of the nuances of CSV and identifies ways in which businesses can facilitate societal benefits via the sponsorship of MSEs. Third, the provision of practitioner interpretations of CSV and the categorisation of tangible CSV examples relating to Developing (i.e., co-creation of assets), Educating (i.e., advancing knowledge), Incentivising (i.e., financial enticement positioned towards improving society), Recruiting (i.e., employment which can help alleviate societal issues), and Showcasing (i.e., an accessible stage to highlight CSV) can help guide how shared value may be created for various actors involved in the ecosystem. Together, these findings demonstrate the significance of CSV as a meaningful, evolutionary concept, which represents an important incremental addition to extant literature and an essential strategic management tool for businesses.
    Date of AwardNov 2021
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Coventry University
    SupervisorLyndon Simkin (Supervisor) & Karolos Papadas (Supervisor)


    • Creation of Shared Value
    • Actor Engagement
    • Service Ecosystems
    • Business-toBusiness Relationships
    • Sponsorship
    • Major Sport Events

    Cite this