Amount and location of sponsors and websites
Overall, 100% of national organisations, 85% of listed regional organisations and 45% of clubs listed by regional organisations had working websites (ie, were accessible and fitted into our definition of a website). This gave a total of 107 websites that met the criteria for inclusion in the study, however only 79 (73.8%) of these contained information about sponsorship. Of these 79, nine websites were national (11.4%), 12 were regional (15.2%) and 58 (73.4%) were at club level (Table ). There were a total of 640 sponsors, giving an average of 8.2 sponsors per relevant website (ie, those containing sponsorship information). The range per relevant website was 1 to 43 sponsors. National levels had the highest average amount of sponsorship per team/website with 14.6 per relevant website, regional level had an average of 8.8 and club an average of 7.1. Rugby had the highest average number of sponsors with 12.8 per website, followed by touch rugby (9.5) and netball (9.2). Athletics had the lowest with 3.4 per website (Table ).
Websites for the top male and female sports (for young people) and levels of sponsorship
The majority of sponsors were found on a specific "sponsors" page of the website (50.3%) or on the home page (32.2%). Of all the sponsors, 56.9% had their logo situated on club or team websites. Furthermore, 43.6% of all sponsors had links to their own homepage on the club or team websites.
Overall, there were 398 different sponsor companies and organisations. The most common sponsor (by number) was the New Zealand Community Trust, which sponsored 40 different teams/clubs, and accounted for 6.3% of all sponsorship. Within the top 10 most common sponsors, five were gaming machine trusts (Table ).
Top 10 sponsors (by number of sponsorship listings on websites) for the top male and female sports (n = 398 different sponsors)
Characteristics of sponsorship
"Gambling" was the most common specific sponsorship category with 18.8% of the total (95% confidence interval (CI) = 15.8, 22.0). The majority of sponsorship in this category was by gaming machine trusts. "Alcohol" made up 11.3% (95% CI = 9.0, 14.0) of all sponsorship, and these were primarily bars and beer companies. "Sporting goods" made up 8.1% (95% CI = 6.2, 10.6) of all sponsorship (Table ).
Categorisation of sponsorship listings on websites for the top male and female sports for young people
There was a small amount of variation in sponsorship over the three sporting levels, however the "gambling" category was consistently the most common, apart from "other". There was significantly more "alcohol" sponsorship at club level, compared to national levels (rate ratio (RR) = 3.77; 95% CI = 1.55, 9.20; p = 0.001). Also, significantly more "sporting organisations" had sponsorship at the national level compared to club levels (RR = 5.81; 95% CI = 2.65, 12.72, p < 0.001).
There was a high degree of variation between the sponsorship of different sports. There was significantly more "alcohol" sponsorship for rugby compared to all the other sports collectively (RR = 2.47; 95% CI = 1.60, 3.79; p < 0.001). Furthermore, there was significantly more "alcohol" sponsorship in male sports (ie, those only in the top five for males) compared to female sports (ie, those only in the top five for females) (RR = 1.83; 95% CI = 1.05, 3.18; p = 0.01). Also there were significantly more "unhealthy food" sponsors within the sport of touch rugby compared to other sports collectively (RR = 6.54; 95% CI = 2.07, 20.69; p = 0.01).
The two most common sponsor types were "franchise/multi-nationals" and "private companies" which made up 38.4% and 34.4% of total sponsorship listings on websites respectively (). There were only small contributions from city council, central government and non-government agencies, which made up 3.3%, 2.8% and 2.7% of total sponsorship listings respectively. There were significantly more "private companies" sponsoring club level compared to national level teams (RR = 8.41; 95% CI = 4.06, 17.42, p < 0.001). Also there were significantly more "government agencies" and "franchise/multi-nationals" sponsoring national level teams compared to club ones (RR = 15.38; 95% CI = 4.52, 52.3, p < 0.001 and RR = 2.08; 95% CI = 1.69, 2.55, p < 0.001 respectively). Of the companies that specifically sponsored "junior" teams, clubs and tournaments there were significantly more "franchise/multi-nationals" companies, compared to all other sponsors (RR = 1.54; 95% CI = 1.13, 2.14; p = 0.01).
Sponsorship listings on sports websites by sponsoring company or organisation
Of the sponsorship listings, 32.7% (95% CI = 29.1, 36.5) were classified as being linked to "unhealthy" products, whereas 15.5% (95% CI = 12.8, 18.6) were classified as being linked to "healthy" products (Table ). There was significantly more "healthy" sponsorship at national compared to club levels (RR = 2.31; 95% CI = 1.54, 3.46, p < 0.001), and significantly more "healthy" sponsorship in basketball compared to other sports (RR = 3.17; 95% CI = 1.79, 5.62; p < 0.001). However, there was significantly more "unhealthy" sponsorship in touch rugby (RR = 1.64; 95% CI = 1.06, 2.55; p = 0.03).
Health aspects of sponsorship listings on websites for the top male and female sports for young people
Sponsorship of junior sports
Out of the 640 sponsorship listings on websites, 33 were classified as sponsoring "junior" sports (ie, 5.2%). Within this grouping, there was significantly more "unhealthy food" sponsorship when compared to all other sponsorship (RR = 14.72, 95% CI = 6.22, 34.8; p < 0.001). On the Wellington junior touch rugby website, one fast food company even offered players a free refill of soft drink (itself classified as an "unhealthy food") if they brought their sports drink bottles into the restaurant.
Naming rights of sponsors
A total of 24 sponsorship listings (3.8%) reported sponsor naming rights of either specific sports teams or specific tournaments. Out of these 24, 46% were in the "unhealthy" sponsorship category (7 gambling, 3 alcohol and 1 unhealthy food). Three were "healthy" and the remaining six were "not classified".