The aim of this study was to analyse how far sponsorship has gone and what shape it has taken at the Paralympic games, how Olympic Sponsorship affects Paralympic sponsorship and how it is linked with Olympic sponsorship decisions. Literature, newspaper, magazine articles and coverage on the sponsorship of the Paralympic and Olympic Games were reviewed. A number of in-depth interviews were conducted with executive members of major Sponsoring Companies/organizations and the SPOC sponsorship department. They were asked questions regarding the motives that led them to associate themselves with the Paralympic Games, expected gains, the financial factors involved, the support of the sponsorship through advertising, the relation with the Olympic involvement and in if they believe that their financial contribution will enhance their image and add to their profits. The findings of the study suggest that there is a slight different nature of sponsorship involvement in the Paralympic Games. There is an interest for niche markets or defined target markets for the Paralympics, but more strongly the Paralympic movement offers -because of its ethical integrity- a strong vehicle in order to reach families, older people and children, and to present the company as a responsible corporate citizen. The Paralympic Games do not get the appropriate sponsorship according to their size, because the exposure of the Paralympic Games and especially Paralympic athletes in the media appear minimally. The inconsiderable small cost in comparison with the Olympic Games is an important reason to obtain sponsorship, while most of the sponsoring companies/organizations consider it as a good investment. The main conclusions drawn were that the Paralympic Games attract sponsorship on a different basis than the Olympic Games. Most sponsors are more concerned about corporate citizenship matters, social image in the community and company profile than in immediate commercial benefits. The strength of Paralympic sponsorship seems to be the integrity of image that it offers which has a very high impact on some populations. Its weakness is the limited promotion the sponsors can get because of the limited media coverage. Sponsoring companies show a big interest in Paralympic sponsorship once they are informed and educated about its opportunities.
Paralympic Games, disabled sport, sponsorship