Metaphorical Linkages Between Sports Properties and Sponsors

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Conference Track

General Papers

Publication Date



Many corporations in North American invest in sponsorships as part of a strategic integrated marketing communications plan. In 2013, an estimated $14.35 billion was spent on sponsoring sports properties (IEG 2014). A key component of this relationship is the linkage, or relationship, between the sponsoring corporation or its products and the sports property. Some linkages are obvious in that the sponsor’s products are used during the sporting event. With another type of linkage, termed a strategic linkage, the sponsor’s products are not used in the competition but instead the target markets for the sponsor’s products and the sports property are similar and overlapping. This paper suggests a third type of linkage, that we are calling a metaphorical linkage, in which characteristics of the sports properties are similar to characteristics that the sponsor wishes its product or brand to encompass. Metaphor theory is used to describe this proposed linkage.

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