For the Money or the Thrill of the Game: The Financial Performance of National Basketball Association Arena Sponsors

  • Brian Nichols The Robert W. Plaster College of Business
  • Joey Smith The Robert W. Plaster College of Business


Companies that sponsor NBA arenas spend millions of dollars each year for the naming rights. To our knowledge, no studies have examined the financial performance of the sponsoring companies over the course of the sponsorship. Managers appear to believe that such expenditures generate net financial benefits for their companies; however, measuring such returns can be elusive. We examine the impact of sponsorship on sales growth and stock price returns before, during, and (if applicable) after the sponsorship of the sponsoring companies. We then explore if the following factors moderate or enhance the sponsorship results – the NBA team’s on-court performance during the regular season, the performance during the playoffs, and whether the sponsor’s corporate headquarters are co-located with the arena. We find evidence of negative sales growth associated with sponsorships, but if the NBA team makes the playoffs, that performance positively correlates with the sponsoring company’s stock price return.


Download data is not yet available.


Barnea, A. & Rubin, A. (2010, November). Corporate social responsibility as a conflict between shareholders. Journal of Business Ethics, 97(1), 71-86. Https://
Ben-David, I., Graham, J., & Harvey, C. (2013, November). Managerial miscalibration. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 128(4), 1547-1584. Https://
Berger, J. A., & Fitzsimmons, G. (2008). Dogs on the street pumas on your feet: How cues in the environment influence product evaluation and choice. Journal of Marketing Research, 45(1), 1-14. Https://
Blake, J., Fourie, S., & Goldman, M. (2018). The relationship between sports sponsorships and corporate financial returns in South Africa. International Journal of Science & Management Studies, 20(1), 2-25. Https://
Boyle, G., & Walter, B. (2003). Reflected glory and failure: International sporting success and the stock market. Applied Financial Economics, 13(3), 225-235. Https://
Cespa, G., & Cestone, G. (2007). Corporate social responsibility and managerial entrenchment. Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, 16(3), 741-771. Https://
Chang, S.-C., Chen, S.-S., Chou, R. K., & Lin, Y.-H. (2012, June). Local sports sentiment and returns of locally headquartered stocks: A firm-level analysis. Journal of Empirical Finance, 19(3), 309-318. Doi: 10.1016/j.jempfin.2011.12.005.
Clark, J. М., Cornwell, T. B., & Pruitt, S. W. (2002, November). Corporate stadium sponsorships, signaling theory, agency conflicts and shareholder wealth. Journal of Advertising Research, 42(6), 16-32. Doi: 10.2501/JAR.42.6.16.
Cobb-Walgren, C. J., Ruble, C. A., & Donthu, N. (1995). Brand equity, brand preference, and purchase intent. Journal of Advertising, 24(3), 25-40. Https://
Dees, W., Bennett, G., & Ferreira, M. (2010, March). Personality fit in NASCAR: An evaluation of driver-sponsor congruence and its impact on sponsorship effectiveness outcomes. Sports Marketing Quarterly, 19(1), 25-35.
Devos, E., Elliott, W. B., & Warr, R. S. (2015). CEO opportunism? Option grants and stock trades around stock splits. Journal of Accounting & Economics, 60(1), 18-35. Doi:10.1016/j.jacceco.2015.02.004.
Edmans, A., Garcia, D., & Norli, O. (2007, August). Sports sentiment and stock returns. Journal of Finance, 62(4), 1967-1998. Https://
Eisdorfer, A., & Kohl, E. (2017, March). Corporate sports sponsorship and stock returns: Evidence from the NFL. Critical Finance Review, 6(1), 179-209. Doi:10.1561/104.00000041. (2019). Most expensive naming rights deals for NBA arenas. Retrieved December 15, 2020 from blog/19322-most-expensive-naming-rights-deals-for-nba-arenas.
Henderson, C. M., Mazodier, M., & Sundar, A. (2019, March). The color of support: The effect of sponsor-team visual congruence on sponsorship performance. Journal of Marketing, 83(3), 50-71. Https://
Huang, C.-W, & Lin, C.-Y. (2016, January). Do aircraft perquisites cause CEOs to withhold bad news? The North American Journal of Economics & Finance, 35(1), 189-202. Https://
Jaisinghani, D., & Kanjilal, K. (2019, January). Marketing investments and firm performance in manufacturing sector: A panel threshold model for China. Journal of the Asia Pacific Economy, 24(1), 117-126. Https://
Jensen, J. A., & Cornwell, T. B. (2017, July). Why do marketing relationships end?Findings from an integrated model of sports sponsorship decision making. Journal of Sports Management, 31(4), 401-418. Https://
Jensen, J. A., & Hsu, A. (2011, July). Does sponsorship pay off? An examination of the relationship between investment in sponsorship and business performance. International Journal of Sports Marketing & Sponsorship, 12(4), 352-364. Doi:10.1108/IJSMS-12-04-2011-B006.
Jobber, D. (2007). Principles and practice of marketing (5th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.Krasnoff, L. (2018, August 16). How basketball became the world’s second biggest sport? Washington Post. Retrieved December 15, 2020, from
Leeds, E. M., Leeds, M., & Pistolet, I. (2007, April). A stadium by any other name: The value of naming rights. Journal of Sports Economics, 8(6), 581-595. Doi:10.1177/1527002506296546.
Miyazaki, A. D., & Morgan, A. G. (2001, January). Assessing market value of event sponsorships: Corporate olympic sponsorships. Journal of Advertising Research, 41(1), 9-16. Doi: 10.2501/JAR-41-1-9-15.
Naidenova, I., Parshakov, P., & Chmykhov, A. (2016, March). Does football sponsorship improve company performance? European Sports Management Quarterly, 16(2), 129-147. Http://
Quigley, T. J., Hubbard, T. D., Ward, A. J., & Graffin, S. D. (2020, February). Unintended consequences: Information releases and CEO stock option grants. Academy of Management Journal, 63(1), 155-180. Https://
Reiser, M., Breuer, C., & Wicker, P. (2012, August). The sponsorship effect: Do sport sponsorship announcements impact the firm value of sponsoring firms? International Journal of Sport Finance, 7(3), 232-248.
Sun, H., Nam, C., Kim, M., & Han, S. H. (2016, February). Spillover effect of team performance on the value of corporate sponsors and their affiliates. International Journal of Sports Finance, 11(1), 79-96.
Thaler, R. (2019, August 14). Conjecture: Companies that buy the naming rights to stadiums and golf tournaments underperform the market. True? Retrieved December 15, 2020, from htts://
How to Cite
NICHOLS, Brian; SMITH, Joey. For the Money or the Thrill of the Game: The Financial Performance of National Basketball Association Arena Sponsors. Journal of Accounting, Business and Management (JABM), [S.l.], v. 29, n. 2, p. 77-91, nov. 2022. ISSN 2622-2167. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 05 feb. 2023. doi: