Document Type

Student Research Paper


Spring 2021

Academic Department


Faculty Advisor(s)

Dr. Kelly Poniatowski and Dr. Cristina Ciocirlan


In America, businesses are looking for ways to truly connect with their customers and key publics. This concept is especially prevalent in sports organizations such as the National Football League (NFL), Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Basketball Association (NBA), and professional tennis. These leagues utilize corporate social responsibility (CSR) messaging to encourage engagement both in the stadium and at home, all the while trying to promote something everyone can enjoy. But, how effective is this messaging? Does utilizing these messaging strategies correlate with increased positive attitudes and greater engagement in sports? There has been some research done into the sociology of sports, which discusses why sports organizations are believed to carry so much weight. The purpose of this research is to determine if certain types of CSR messaging will resonate differently with various groups, which vary with respect to personality, psychographic disposition, or demographics. A survey was conducted where change in attitude about a sports team was measured. Respondents were asked a series of questions related to their engagement with sports. They were then shown a series of CSR promotions developed by the NFL. Upon seeing those promotions, they were asked the same survey questions. The goal was to determine if the CSR messaging influenced participants’ likelihood to watch the sports team. Business owners and social media professionals can benefit from this study because it gives them insight into consumer preferences and what types of messaging motivates consumers to continue engaging with a certain business or team. This knowledge could aid in guiding businesses decisions with respect to consumer engagement via CSR messaging. The methodology is a survey that will be sent to members of the student body, the faculty and the alumni who accepted to take part in the survey. The survey analyzes questions about social causes the participant feels close to, and then they are asked questions about their feelings toward the National Football League’s use of corporate social responsibility (CSR) messaging. They are then shown multiple examples of NFL messages featuring CSR initiatives, and they are asked to comment on them (their effectiveness, their likeability, etc.).


Honors Senior Thesis; Honors in the Discipline; BA 400D Senior Project in Business; COM401A Honors in the Discipline II