Presentation Title

Female Sponsorship: The Unspoken Glass Ceiling in the Sports Industry for Female Athletes

Start Date

29-3-2021 2:26 PM

End Date

29-3-2021 2:32 PM

Abstract

In the billion-dollar industry of sports, everyone has a front-row seat to what happens outside; however, not many get to see what happens behind the scenes; one of those things is sponsorship. Research within marketing and communications has shown that the sponsorship process works. Product endorsement by an athlete will increase the potential for market share while simultaneously providing the athlete with needed support. However, corporate sponsorship does not appear to be symmetrical across gender boundaries. This project hypothesized that women receive sponsorship opportunities of a lower magnitude when compared to men of similar professional stature. As a result of this bias, it is feasible that these barriers influence women’s ability to succeed.

By not acknowledging the gender bias, the effectiveness of sponsorship as a marketing and communication tool is potentially compromised. Through qualitative research methods, elite athletes, corporate representatives and industry specialists were interviewed to investigate the glass ceiling that impacts female athletes. Identifying and understanding these biases will help raise awareness of the issues, better support women in sport, and ignite further research into the topic and industry.

Department

Interdisciplinary Studies

Faculty Advisor

Shannon Smyrl and Kellee Caton

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Mar 29th, 2:26 PM Mar 29th, 2:32 PM

Female Sponsorship: The Unspoken Glass Ceiling in the Sports Industry for Female Athletes

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In the billion-dollar industry of sports, everyone has a front-row seat to what happens outside; however, not many get to see what happens behind the scenes; one of those things is sponsorship. Research within marketing and communications has shown that the sponsorship process works. Product endorsement by an athlete will increase the potential for market share while simultaneously providing the athlete with needed support. However, corporate sponsorship does not appear to be symmetrical across gender boundaries. This project hypothesized that women receive sponsorship opportunities of a lower magnitude when compared to men of similar professional stature. As a result of this bias, it is feasible that these barriers influence women’s ability to succeed.

By not acknowledging the gender bias, the effectiveness of sponsorship as a marketing and communication tool is potentially compromised. Through qualitative research methods, elite athletes, corporate representatives and industry specialists were interviewed to investigate the glass ceiling that impacts female athletes. Identifying and understanding these biases will help raise awareness of the issues, better support women in sport, and ignite further research into the topic and industry.