Drawing on the corporate association framework and attribution theory, the purpose of this paper is twofold: first, to examine the shield effects of CSR-linked sport sponsorship on consumer attitudes toward a sponsor, attribution patterns in a sponsor’s service failure and repurchase intentions and second, to investigate the halo effect of CSR-linked sport sponsorship on corporate ability (CA) associations and the relationship between CA associations and consequential variables in the context of service failure.
A scenario-based two-factor (sponsorship types: baseline vs sport sponsorship vs CSR-linked sport sponsorship × service failure types: flight delay vs cancellation) experimental design was employed.
The results indicate that CSR-linked sport sponsorship outperforms non-CSR sport sponsorship in forming CSR association and developing CA association. Both CSR and CA associations are found to positively influence the consumer’s attitude toward a service provider. Consumers with positive attitudes attribute the sponsor’s service failure to external factors, leading to repurchase intention after a service failure.
This study connects two fields of research, service failure and sport sponsorship, thereby providing evidence on how CSR-linked sport sponsorship can play a shield role in the context of service failure and whether CSR-linked sport sponsorship can be a proactive strategy for service providers in industries where service failures are inevitable. Additionally, this study provides empirical evidence on whether CSR-linked sponsorship can lead consumers to perceive service quality as “doing right leads to doing well” by creating a halo effect.