Document Type

Plan B - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Health and Nutritional Sciences

First Advisor

Hung-Ling (Stella) Liu


sport sponsorship, local business, restaurant, college athletics, return on investment, marketing


Corporate sponsorships, trademark licensing, and broadcasting rights within college athletics have become a multibillion-dollar business over the past decade. However, a gap in research exists within local businesses sponsorship of college athletics. Many college towns heavily rely on local businesses, specifically restaurants, to attract and retain sports fans. The purpose of this study is to examine local restaurants’ marketing strategies, community relations, and other sponsorship donations impacting the involvement of its collegiate sport sponsorship at the mid-major conference level. Purposeful sampling was used to include two local restaurant owners who participate in sport sponsorship in a Midwest college team. Semi-structured interview questions were used to acquire marketing strategies, sponsorship, asset selection, and return on investment (ROI) evaluation. Four main themes emerged: (1) the restaurant market in a college town, (2) pursuing big dreams through marketing: advertising, branding, and community connection, (3) progression in athletic sponsorship: decision making, investment, and assistance, and (4) keys to success. Local businesses often have different timing, intensity, and strength marketing strategies compared to those on a national level. The contributions and impacts of this study include sponsorship ROI evaluation strategies for two local restaurants, brand recognition and awareness valuation from their fan bases, and asset mixture selection.

Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


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