Towards an integrated framework of sports sponsorship life-cycle process and digitalization: a case study of Euroleague Basketball
The digital transformation phenomenon is affecting the sports industry including marketing practices and specifically sponsorship. The sponsorship life-cycle process is a well-established practice among sports organizations that is being transformed due to the changing digital landscape and emerging technologies forcing sports organizations to digitalize their management processes and innovate in their marketing practices. To better understand how the changing digital landscape is impacting on the sports sponsorship life-cycle process, a longitudinal case study has been conducted with the Euroleague Basketball following an abductive logic and using qualitative methods. Data collection took place between 2018 and 2022 involving three rounds of semi-structured interviews with Euroleague Basketball executives, directors, and managers. First in 2018, then 2021, and lastly 2022. This was complemented with participant observation at the 2018 and 2019 Final Four events and secondary documentation gathered from 2018 to 2022 to achieve data triangulation.
Following Euroleague Basketball during this period enabled the researcher to arrive at an in-depth understanding of the organization's evolution regarding the adoption of digital technologies for sponsorship-linked activities and the digitalization of processes within the sponsorship life-cycle process. The case study show there is an evolution in different sponsorship concepts generated by the changing digital landscape and eight propositions are made.
The research revealed that digitalization of sponsorship and wider marketing practices has affected wider the digital transformation journey in Euroleague Basketball as an organization as a whole. This research contributes to the theorizing process of the impact of the digital transformation phenomenon in sports marketing practices by providing new insights on the impact of the changing digital landscape in the sponsorship life-cycle process.