More than competition: exploring stakeholder identities at a grassroots cause-related sporting event

Denise Linda Parris, Stephen L. Shapiro, Jon Welty Peachey, Josh Bowers, Adrien Bouchet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this paper is to (a) explore stakeholder identities of a grassroots cause-related sporting event; and (b) gain a better understanding of how identities are related to stakeholder development, support of the event, and future intentions. We used a mixed methods research design that consisted of two studies: qualitative followed by quantitative. Study 1 explored stakeholder identities and how they are related to stakeholder development and support of the event, and Study 2 examined how future intentions regarding attendance, donations, and sponsor support differ based on levels of stakeholder identity. Sports marketing and non-profit management literature streams as well as identity theory and social capital theory informed our studies. The National Kidney Foundation Surf Festival was selected because it is a grassroots cause-related sporting event with financial success over the last two decades. In addition, a surf contest, an action sport, is a unique sport setting in the nonprofit sector, which offers insight to marketers seeking to target subcultures. The findings of the qualitative study revealed three identities relevant to participants: sport subculture, community, and cause. A framework emerged from the data that illustrated how these identities unite together to generate social capital, which is linked to effective volunteer and sponsorship management. Quantitative analysis through survey data provided further evidence of the impact of identification with a cause-related sport activity on consumer outcomes. Results indicated attendees with high surf-related identity are more likely to attend future Surf Festivals, have higher intentions to donate to the cause, and have higher sponsor purchase intentions compared to those with low self-identity with the sport subculture. The conclusion discusses implications, framing the findings through the intersection of the sports marketing and non-profit sector industries, and provides suggestions for future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115-140
Number of pages26
JournalInternational Review on Public and Nonprofit Marketing
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 25 2015


  • Action sports
  • Cause-related marketing
  • Grassroots sporting events
  • Identity theory
  • Lifestyle marketing
  • Non-profit management
  • Social capital theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Marketing


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