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Are Olympic sponsors trailing the rest of the world when it comes to Mena activations?

July 21, 2012 11:00 by

THE “GREATEST Show on Earth” begins this month, but what does it mean for consumers in the Middle East?

The Olympics have never been so market­able. With 11 worldwide partners and 42 domestic commercial partners supporting London 2012, this summer’s Games boast some of the biggest consumer brands.

Indeed, despite the economic downturn, the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) reached its commercial revenue target of $1.08bn (£700m) as far back as September.

While many of London Olympics 2012’s partners signed up before the onset of the financial crisis, the IOC will be sleeping safe in the knowledge that even in times of recession, both the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics and Rio 2016 Summer Games have enjoyed support from the private sector.

As of September last year, Sochi had already secured 31 commercial sponsors and $1.2bn in domestic sponsorship, making it the most successful commercial Games in history.

Rio, meanwhile, reached its sponsor­ship target of $570m with the signing of Nissan in February, more than four years ahead of the Games.

London 2012, however, has put spon­sorship firmly on the corporate agenda with the net effect being an awful lot of “noise” and a scramble for territory.

But to what extent does the commer­cial and consumer interest in the Games extend to the Middle East?

Casting an eye across the sponsorship landscape from within the region’s sports marketing industry, there doesn’t appear to be much Olympic activation, and many of the Games’ international sponsors appear to be focusing their sponsorships exclu­sively on UK and key European markets.

Global brands have long understood the need to supplement their rights fee investments with substantial activation budgets, and this summer’s Games are no exception.

Coca-Cola’s new Move to the Beat cam­paign, featuring international DJ Mark Ronson, is one such example of an Olym­pic brand supplementing its contractual rights with additional investment in athlete ambassadors, experiential event activations, and community engagement initiatives. 

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