Permanent Olympic City Idea Raises Interesting Sponsorship Possibilities

By Adam Lentz Oct 3, 2013

Permanent Olympic City Idea Raises Interesting Sponsorship Possibilities

There has been a lot of attention paid to the Olympics the last few weeks – and with good reason. Members of the IOC selected Tokyo as the host of the 2020 games and picked wrestling to fill the final spot on the Olympic program for that year. Wrestling was chosen after spending a reported $8 million on its campaign. An entire blog could be written about the sport of wrestling and the governing bodies that came together to make sure it was on the program, as well as the proposed rule changes to make the sport more fun to watch and easier to understand. We also saw the election of a new president, Thomas Bach, the first ever Olympic champion to become IOC leader.

All this is important. However, what got me thinking about the Olympics was an article suggesting the same city should host the Olympics every year. The idea isn’t new. Olympia, Greece hosted the games for 800 years.

The fact remains that it is difficult for any city to invest the billions of dollars needed to build new venues, support infrastructure changes and see any kind of profit from hosting the games. So instead of cities bankrupting themselves and displacing local citizens, public policy professor John Rennie Short suggests the IOC should step in and help build a permanent “Olympics Island” that would host competitions, house athletes, etc.

Here’s my idea.

Let’s say the IOC was to create an Olympics Island somewhere in the world. Let’s not focus on the politics, who would “own” the island or how the event would run, but instead focus on how this would affect sponsorship of the Olympic Games and what role sponsors should or would need to play to better develop this idea. Coca-Cola, for example, maintains the longest continuous relationship with the Olympic movement and is a partner of all 204 National Olympic Committees and their teams. If the IOC were to tell Coca-Cola they want to create a permanent Olympics Island and they needed its help – do you think Coca-Cola would say no? It’s doubtful.

How it could work: As part of the TOP program, Coca-Cola would receive certain marketing rights and benefits, including pouring rights for non-alcoholic beverages at the Games. In addition, Coca-Cola would secure naming rights to the Olympic Stadium as part of its partnership. This could be done through new dollars that the IOC asks for or by allocating current dollars differently. The IOC could leverage its current relationships to establish a permanent infrastructure and venues for the Olympic s Island. Sponsors would have the unique opportunity to not only name venues and areas at the Olympic Games, but to help create the actual attractions where the competition would take place.

Is it reasonable to think a sponsor at this top level would want this type of access to the end consumer? Of course. Will it happen? Probably not, but it does make for an interesting conversation about the future of the Olympic Games.


olympics international



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Metin Odemis 10/3/2013 5:25 PM
It would certainly then be open to competition, no pun intended... Imagine if Pepsi wanted its own island... There could be a different "Olympics" each year in different "islands," and we wouldn't have to wait four years to see things like The Queen jumping off an airplane...

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