Dr Leah Gillooly

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Position: Lecturer in Marketing
Academic unit: Management Sciences and Marketing


Dr Leah Gillooly (nee Donlan) gained a BSc(hons) International Business (French) from Loughborough University and a PhD from Sheffield Hallam University, for her thesis entitled “The Contribution of Sports Sponsorship to Consumer-Based Brand Equity.” Prior to taking up her role at Alliance Manchester Business School, Leah held the roles of Lecturer and Senior Lecturer in Sports Marketing at the University of Central Lancashire. Leah’s current research focuses on the areas of experiential and digital sponsorship activation and she has had her work published in peer-reviewed journals including the Journal of Marketing Management, the Journal of Marketing Communications and the Journal of Promotion Management.

Leah's paper "An empirical assessment of factors affecting the brand-building effectiveness of sponsorship" was the winner of the Sport, Business & Management: An International Journal's Outstanding Paper 2015 in the Emerald Literati Network Awards for excellence. Full access to the paper is available: http://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/full/10.1108/SBM-09-2011-0075

In 2008, Leah won 2nd prize in the European Association of Sport Management New Researcher award for her PhD research.

Research Interests

Dr Leah Gillooly’s current research interests lie in the use of experiential, digital and social media sponsorship activation strategies by sports sponsors. Within these areas, Leah is particularly interested in how sponsors can maximise the effectiveness of their sponsorship activations and the impact of these activations on target audiences. Leah is also involved in research on football stadium renaming in the context of sponsorship. Following on from her PhD research on the contribution of sports sponsorship to consumer-based brand equity, Leah is also interested in the notion of brand image transfer in sponsorship, notably the nature and extent of image transfer from the sponsor to the sponsored property.

Postgraduate Opportunities

I welcome PhD applications falling into the following broad categories:

- Sports sponsorship: in particular, aspects of brand image transfer and sponsorship activation, including the use of experiential and social media marketing within sponsorship activation.

- Experiential marketing

Media Appearances

Leah has appeared regularly on television and radio and been extensively quoted in news publications on stories relating to sponsorship and the wider business of sport. Some of her recent media appearances include:

Quoted in: Doward, J. (2015) Nike fights on two fronts as brand is linked to bribery and doping allegations. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2015/jun/06/nike-fifa-salazar-brazil-football-athletics-doping-allegations

Recorded interview on Lewis Hamilton’s earning potential, BBC 6 O’clock News, 24 November 2014 (http://bobnational.net/record/260301)

Live studio interview on Oslo’s decision to pull out of bidding for 2022 Winter Olympics, BBC Radio 5 Live Breakfast, 3 October 2014

Donlan, L. (2014) Value-conscious brands may shun joint sponsorship. Available at: http://www.educationpost.com.hk/resources/mba/140903-insights-value-conscious-brands-may-shun-joint-sponsorship[Accessed 11 September 2014]

Live interview on Manchester United’s new kit sponsorship deal with Adidas, Sky News, 14 July 2014. Available at: http://news.sky.com/story/1300690/manchester-united-sign-750m-adidas-deal

Programme involvement

Specialist fields




Publication summary




Working papers

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Leah teaches courses at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, specialising in marketing communications:

- Marketing Foundations - Year 1 undergraduate

- Marketing Applications & Communications - Year 2 undergraduate

- Integrated Marketing Communications - Postgraduate

- Marketing and Communications Professional Analytics - Postgraduate

Leah also supervises undergraduate and MSc dissertations and Global MBA projects in the areas of sponsorship, experiential marketing and social media.

Showing 15 publication(s)


  • Donlan, L. (2017). Experiential sponsorship activation at a sports mega-event: The case of Cisco at London 2012. Sport, Business and Management: An International Journal. . Publication link: a6fdf395-b5cf-46e7-8812-799729f525d7


  • Donlan, L., Anagnostopoulos, C., & Chadwick, S. (2016). Social media based sponsorship activation – a typology of content. Sport, Business and Management: An International Journal. . Publication link: cf25dcd8-4c28-4b45-ad97-0e6a24187939


  • Donlan, L., Crowther, P., & Medway, D. (2015). The Evolution of B2B Sponsorship Activation: From Corporate Hospitality to Experiential Sponsorship Activation. In host publication.. Publication link: 05e0ece2-be6f-4fe1-a9f7-abfb1aee9643


  • Donlan, L. (2014). An empirical assessment of factors affecting the brand-building effectiveness of sponsorship. Unknown Journal, 4(1), 6-25. . Publication link: 8e66ea26-1c82-4581-80cc-dc6f4a18b777


  • Donlan, L. K. (2013). The Role of Brand Knowledge in Determining Sponsorship Effectiveness. Journal of Promotion Management, 19(2), 241-264. . Publication link: c14db099-2d3b-4a23-b52e-86739be87ff3


  • Donlan, L. (2012). Value creation spaces: Using events to leverage sports sponsorship. Hartpury College Sport Management Conference, Hartpury College, .. Publication link: aa2f065a-7874-4088-8ba4-48af74919b58


  • Donlan, L. (2011). Intention versus reality: Exploring the use of Facebook for teaching and learning in three sports marketing modules. In host publication.. Publication link: b06f1dbc-90ea-4154-ac82-2e6b0afc5e11
  • Crowther, P., & Donlan, L. (2011). Value-creation space: The role of events in a service-dominant marketing paradigm. Journal of Marketing Management, 27(13-14), 1444-1463. . Publication link: 3d0ef98b-fe2b-4f1f-bd84-eac7075da6e0




  • Donlan, L. (2008). Sponsorship Effectiveness for New and Established Brands – the Role of Consumer Knowledge. In host publication.. Publication link: d91fc9d5-fb69-4986-96b4-b55b872ee719