CrossFit Athletic Identity’s Relationship to Sponsor Recall, Recognition, and Purchase Intent

Daniel J. Larson, Jordan C. Wetherbee, Paul Branscum


Background: The CrossFit Open is a physical activity competition that allows athletes from across the world to compete in fitness challenges online, whereby participants document their progress via an event website. No apparent studies have examined participant event sponsorship in a case where sponsor messages are delivered primarily via an event website. Furthermore, current research has yet to consider the differential impact of audience athletic identity on sponsor messaging in such a context. Objective: The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between CrossFit Athletic Identity (CAI) and the ability to recall and recognize official sponsors of a participant event conducted on an online platform. Methodology: A cross-sectional research design was used with a convenience sample (n=170) of CrossFit Open participants from 36 affiliates in the South Central United States. A concurrent treatment validation with a subset of four participants utilized laboratory eye-tracking to evaluate the attention and viewing patterns within the CrossFit online platform. Results: CAI was not a significant predictor for sponsor recognition or recall (α = 0.05). Only one of the case study participants had a recorded brand image fixation (0.29 seconds) during the eye-tracking assessments of their typical website interaction. Conclusion: While CAI was not associated with improved sponsor recognition and recall, the assessment of the participant website interactions suggest that participants in this study were not likely exposed to sufficient sponsor images. This highlights the need for critical evaluation of event website designs using eye-tracking or some other metric of visual exposure.


CrossFit, Athletic Identity, Sport Sponsorship, Eye-Tracking, Web Design

Full Text:



Becker-Olsen, K. L. (2003). And now, a word from our sponsor. Journal of Advertising, 32(2), 17-32.

Biscaia, R., Correia, A., Ross, S., & Rosado, A. (2014). Sponsorship effectiveness in professional sport: An examination of recall and recognition among football fans. International Journal of Sports Marketing & Sponsorship, 7-23.

Breuer, C., & Rumpf, C. (2012). The Viewer's Reception and Processing of Sponsorship Information in Sport Telecasts. Journal of Sport Management, 26, 521-531.

Breuer, C., & Rumpf, C. (2015). The Impact of Color and Animation on Sport Viewers’ Attention to Televised Sponsorship Signage. Journal of Sport Management, 29, 170-183.

Brewer, B.W., Van Raalte, J.L., & Linder, D.E.(1993). Athletic identity: Hercules' muscles or Achilles heel? International Journal of Sport Psychology, 24(2), 237-254.

Church-Sanders, R. (2011). Game on. Sportbusiness International, (167), 44-48.

Cornwell, B.T., & Kwon, Y. (2019). Sponsorship-linked marketing: Research surplus and shortages. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Sciences. DOI:

CrossFit. (2016, April 11). Statistics from the 2016 Open [video file]. Retrieved from

CrossFit. (2017a). Retrieved from

Glendinning, M. (2009). Online gaming bets on sports. Sportbusiness International, (150), 64-67.

Horton, R. & Mack, D.(2000). Athletic identity in marathon runners: Functional focus or dysfunctional commitment? Journal of Sport Behavior, 23, 101-119.

IEG. (2016). What sponsors want and where dollars will go in 2016. IEG Sponsorship Report. Retrieved from

Imbo, W. (2015, July 13). ESPN & the CrossFit Games: How it all started & what it means now. Retrieved from

Ko, Y. J., Kim, K., Claussen, C. L., & Kim, T. H. (2008). The effects of sport involvement, sponsor awareness and corporate image on intention to purchase sponsors' products. International Journal of Sports Marketing & Sponsorship, 9(2), 6-21.

Lardinoit, T., & Derbaix, C. (2001). Sponsorship and Recall of Sponsors. Psychology & Marketing, 18(2), 167-190.

Lough, N. L., Pharr, J. R., & Owen, J. O. (2014). Runner Identity and Sponsorship: Evaluating the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon. Sport Marketing Quarterly, 23, 198-211.

Markelz, M. (2016). Has CrossFit Made Reebok Relevant Again? American Marketing Association. Retrieved from

Mullin, B. J., Hardy, S., & Sutton, W. A. (2007). Sport Marketing (3rd ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

Murphy, D, (2010). The Value of Market Segmentation. Retrieved from

Sportsbusiness International. Betting Firms Continue Sponsorship Spree. (2006). Sportbusiness International, (116), 17.

Tabachnick, B. G., & Fidell, L. S. (2013). Using Multivariate Statistics (6th ed.). Pearson.

Walsh, P., Ross, S., & Kim, Y. (2008). Brand recall and recognition: A comparison of television and sport video games as presentation modes. Sports Marketing Quarterly, 17, 201-208.

Yu, C., & Stotlar, D. (2000). Advertising banners on sport web sites. International Journal of Applied Sports Sciences, 12, 73-94.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2013-2022 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD.

International Journal of Kinesiology and Sports Science

You may require to add the '' domain to your e-mail 'safe list’ If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox'. Otherwise, you may check your 'Spam mail' or 'junk mail' folders.