In the context of international sports tournaments, fans’ feelings of patriotism and fans’ acquisition of knowledge from social media seem to be decisive factors in determining sponsorship success. We explore how both factors influence fans’ intentions to purchase sponsors’ products. This study is based in survey data collected from fans during the FIFA 2018 World Cup. Findings from this study contribute to the literature in three ways. First, we find evidence that patriotism has a positive effect on fans’ attitudes and behaviours toward sponsors. Second, we operationalize fans’ fulfilment of sponsorship activation, as a fan’s engagement response to a sponsor’s social media marketing communications, to reveal if it has positive effects on attitudes and behaviours toward sponsors. Third, we discuss several aspects that sponsors might want to consider when deciding to sponsor major sporting events, they can adjust their marketing strategy to generate stronger revenues from product sales.