Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to understand and explain why some professional sports organizations outsource their sponsorship-related activities to sports marketing agencies, whereas others purposely retain these activities in-house.
Design/methodology/approach: The paper applies transaction cost economics (TCE) and the resource-based view (RBV) to outsourcing of sports sponsorship activities. It examines the extent determinants descending from these theories influence the sourcing choice of professional sports organizations.
Findings: This paper argues that determinants derived from TCE and the RBV are useful to understand the factors likely to influence an outsourcing decision and to analyze which sponsorship-related activities are more or less likely to be outsourced. However, these determinants are insufficient to shed light on why sports organizations arrive at different conclusions about their internal and external environments. With recourse to contingency theory, the authors propose two additional contingencies that affect the sourcing decision: a sport organization’s size and its degree of professionalism. This integrative conceptual framework improves the understanding of sports sponsorship outsourcing, makes several propositions, and paves the way for future empirical research in sports sponsorship.
Originality/value: This is the first paper to apply classical theoretical concepts to outsourcing sports sponsorship activities. As a conceptual paper, it hopes to stimulate further research on outsourcing in sports sponsorship and on the relationship between sports organizations and sports marketing agencies.