Purpose: Little research has examined sponsorship within the context of mega-event and related host images. This paper seeks to explore the relationships among country, destination, mega-event and sponsor images through the evaluations formed of each entity. Design/methodology/approach: Based on data collected from 291 Canadian consumers two months after the Beijing Olympics, a SEM model examines the relationships among consumer evaluations of the host country, the country as a destination, the mega-event itself and sponsors. Findings: Results support the hypothesized model and present a paradoxical situation for the Olympics hosted by China. While the overall country evaluation was found to have a strong and positive effect on its evaluation as a tourist destination and the destination evaluation has a subsequent positive relationship with Olympic evaluations, a direct and negative relationship between the evaluation of the country and of the Olympic Games was also supported. Research limitations/implications: Future research should examine the relationship among country, destination, mega-event and sponsor images in other mega-event and country contexts. In addition, the pattern of these relationships should be assessed longitudinally. Practical implications: This study provides evidence to show that the Olympic Games image is resilient and can thrive in challenging contexts. Further, sponsors can be assured that they are receiving value from Olympic sponsorships. Originality/value: These results extend previous literature on sponsorship evaluation into the large, global sponsor context. In addition, this study examines the role of the host country in understanding the influence of the mega-event on sponsor images.

Country image, Destination image, Olympic Games, Sponsorship, Supplier evaluation
Journal of Product and Brand Management
Sprott School of Business

Nadeau, J. (John), O'Reilly, N. (Norm), & Heslop, L.A. (2013). Linking place, mega-event and sponsorship evaluations. Journal of Product and Brand Management, 22(2), 129–141. doi:10.1108/10610421311321004