An Examination of College Adaptive Sport Sponsorship and the Role of Cause-Related Marketing

Nina Siegfried – University of Louisville
Ehren R. Green – University of Louisville
Nicholas Swim – University of Louisville
Anthony Montanaro – University of Louisville
Chris Greenwell – University of Louisville
Evan L. Frederick – University of Louisville

Despite the growth of college sports as a whole, college adaptive sport programs are still relatively scarce. Even more scarce are the resource college adaptive sport programs receive from their institutions and athletic departments, making sponsorship funding essential for operation. Using a Delphi approach, this study examined the unique attributes college adaptive sports possess to identify how these programs are acquiring sponsors. First, ten interviews with college adaptive sport professional were conducted to identify key categories regarding unique program characteristics, sponsorship acquisition, and barriers, followed by a survey in which eleven participants ranked the importance of each category. Findings show college adaptive sports unique characteristics include serving an underserved population, impacting the disability community, and positively impacting the lives of student-athletes beyond college, which are attractive to sponsors looking to engage in CRM. Existing network channels and community relationships are key to sponsorship acquisition, as well as, providing tangible deliverables for sponsors looking to quantify their engagement. The results provide strategies for current and future college adaptive sport programs to acquire their own funding through sponsorship, in order to supplement scarce university and athletic department funding.