Alberto Musso

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The sponsorship as a commercial contract

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This essay inquiries the nature and the function of the sponsorship agreements as commercial agreements. During the last decades, the function of gift has progressively decreased because of economic advantages granted to the sponsor, too. Indeed, by the sponsorship, the firm may increase not only its moral prestige, but also its economic goodwill and (indirectly) the sale of its goods or the supply for its services: ultimately, sponsorship must therefore be construed as a bilateral agreement for advertising function with an economic consideration, although the trademark of the sponsor is associated to an event or to the whole sponsee's activity not for meaning a co-production (such as in co-branding) or a license (such as in merchandising or franchising) to the public, but as a distinct relationship. In the Author's opinion, this construction is valid both for sport and cultural sponsorship (museums, concerts etc.), as well as for product placement in cinematographic or audiovisual works (which is a special kind of sponsorship for this domain and not a different kind of contract). Accordingly, remedies for bilateral contracts - e.g. hardship or termination for breach - must be admitted; the duration of the agreement, when not expressed, must moreover follow the economic rationale of the consideration, especially if the sponsored activity by the sponsee is potentially endless (e.g. sponsorship of an archeological site).

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