Corporate sponsorships are arrangements in which corporations pay for the privilege of publicly attaching their names to products, events, venues, causes, and even people. Sponsorships can build corporate reputation by capitalizing on the positive associations publics might have with the things being sponsored, but their value (either to reputation or to corporate bottom lines) is notoriously difficult to measure.

In the early days of television, broadcast advertising essentially began as corporate sponsorship; television programs sometimes even included the names of their corporate sponsors in their program names (e.g., Texaco Star Theater). Though broadcast television’s business model is still similar (i.e., corporate advertising underwrites or “sponsors” much of the cost of programming on nonpremium television channels), the notion of “corporate sponsorship” has narrowed to become something separate ...

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