As the third-largest source of revenue, sponsorships play an integral role in the world of sports business. Sports are the fastest growing category among all sponsorship spending, with the North American sports sponsorship revenue expected to grow to $18.7 billion in 2020. Identified as the most valuable benefit for sponsors, category exclusivity rights allow a sponsor to be the only company in a certain category to have an official relationship with the property. However, the popularity of category exclusivity has been declining due to the high fee associated with it. This has led to sports properties splitting up previously exclusive category to allow multiple partners to hold rights. As a result, sponsors are finding exclusivity rights at a smaller level: specific marketing platforms. This strategy permits only one corporate partner to activate in a specified channel. Although not as prominent as in professional sports, category exclusivity is still a key factor in collegiate athletics sponsorships. Sponsors concentrate mainly on creating brand awareness as college students are at the age where they begin to make their own decisions. By increasing brand awareness, these companies are also increasing the probability that the students will purchase from it, and eventually become loyal, long-term consumers. As an intern for Sun Devil Athletics Corporate Partnerships, my experience guided me through a study of the exclusive sponsorships of Sun Devil Athletics. Through an analysis of ASU students' attitudes toward and knowledge of the official sponsors of Sun Devil Athletics, this thesis discusses the effectiveness of the exclusive sponsorships with a special focus on how being aware of a company's relationship to ASU affects students' intent to purchase that company's products or services.
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