Sponsors increasingly engage in corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities surrounding sponsored events (e.g., the soccer World Belstaff Sac 554 Cup and Olympic Games). This study examines how linking CSR to sponsorship affects consumer attitudes towards sponsoring brands. Schema theory suggests that consumer CSR perception and brand credibility act as serial mediators. They transfer the positive effects of a CSR-linked sponsorship strategy. These effects only occur for brands with a moderately low congruity to the sponsored event (but not for brands with Belstaff Classic a moderately high congruity to the sponsored event). Two experiments measuring (Study 1) and manipulating (Study 2) sponsor–event congruity confirm the proposed mediation mechanism for brands with Belstaff Classic Tourist Trophy Beige a moderately low sponsor–event congruity. CSR-linked sponsorship (vs. sponsorship without CSR linkage) does not influence attitudes towards brands with a moderately high congruity to the sponsored event. The study develops theoretical and practical implications for sponsorship and CSR strategies.