Exploring the sponsorship strategies of the Norwegian Ice Hockey Federation: A qualitative case study
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The aim of this master thesis has been to explore the sponsorship strategies employed by the Norwegian Ice Hockey Federation. Through in-depth interviews with informants from both the federation and their sponsors, this qualitative case-study looks at the Norwegian sponsorship market and the strategic approaches applied within. The research questions used in this study are: 1. What are the NIHF´s sponsorship strategies and is there a difference between NIHF´s strategies and everyday practice? 2. What are the perceptions of the NIHF as a sponsorship object and how do their sponsors´ practices compare to NIHF´s practices? The study bases itself on the theoretical framework of Cornwell, Weeks and Roy (2005) on consumer-focused sponsorship-linked marketing and Woratschek, Horbel and Popp´s (2014) sport value framework (SVF) as well as other elements pertaining to sponsorship such as branding, sponsorship fit and measurement of sponsorship effect. As an organization the NIHF show strategic approaches to elements such as communication and brand image rooted in their organizational values. Further, they also show strategical efforts to measure the effect of sponsorship, although the practice needs to be updated. However, they do not approach the sponsorship market in a holistic, strategic manner, and the strategies they utilize can be improved in addition to actively seeking to gain sponsor-specific benefits through their sponsorship agreements. Furthermore, there is a misconception between NIHF and their sponsors regarding activation and leveraging of the sponsorship, implying that the strategies for activation and leveraging differ from actual practice. In terms of the views their sponsors present, the NIHF are perceived as a sponsorship object of high potential. The sponsors included in this study all show higher levels of strategic practices in terms of sponsorship compared to the NIHF. Through increased proactivity and the incorporation of resources from their sponsors, in addition to increased focus on long term planning as an organization in terms of both overarching objectives and sponsorship, the NIHF can improve their sponsorship practices and attractiveness in the sponsorship market.
Masteroppgave - Norges idrettshøgskole, 2019