Branding the World of Sports

Olympic sponsors dropping like flies

Posted by ZA on January 10, 2009

Home Depot announced they are not continuing their sponsorship of the Olympic Games.  Home Depot has been an Olympic sponsor since 1992, and spent millions with the USOC on a jobs program for athletes.  The program allowed Olympic athletes to work part-time at Home Depot, but paid them as full-time employees and offered them benefits. The program allowed the athletes time to train for their Olympic sport, while still earning a living.

There has been a lot of rumbling, but will this be the move that prompts other corporations to bail on the Olympics?  Are marketing executives at Coca-Cola, Kodak, McDonald’s and Visa considering similar moves?  Those are all sponsors who have spent in excess of $50 million dollars to sponsor the Olympic Games.

Johnson & Johnson, Kodak, Lenovo and Xerox are sponsors who already announced their decision not to renew their deals after the Beijing Games.  Kodak said the reason was because “it’s just not the best way for us to spend our money”.  Other sponsors have yet to commit dollars to continue their Olympic sponsorship.  And sponsorships for Vancouver 2010 have come under scrutiny, like the $70 million that struggling automaker General Motors has committed to provide.

I expect more Olympic sponsors to reduce their levels of commitment.  The Olympics will still have a full slate of sponsors, but the dollars will be less than in previous years.  Beijing sponsorship levels will remain the high point, although London could push that record.  In the meantime we’ll see a changing of the guard as many traditional Olympic sponsors exit, opening up the door for new corporations to get involved…albeit at lower dollars.

Currently global Olympic sponsors include:
General Electric
Manulife Financial (renewal pending)

What companies could step up to sponsor the 2012 London Olympics?  What about Rio in 2016?


2 Responses to “Olympic sponsors dropping like flies”

  1. […] a growing number of global sporting events; then their job got tougher to land new sponsors (or keep existing sponsors) when the World economy tanked.  So the IOC membership has to consider the sports they are looking […]

  2. […] and 2008 Beijing Summer Games as well.  Adidas, Manulife Financial and Volkswagen were 2008 sponsors who dropped, while Acer and Atos Origin are new for the 2010 […]

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