Marketing the Olympic Rings: Examining the Marketing Impacts and Expectations of the 2006 and 2010 Olympic Winter Games

Article excerpt

The breadth and scope of the marketing programs and policies of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is diverse and complex and provides considerable opportunity for analysis and discussion regarding the overall impact and management of the Olympic Games. Sponsorship, broadcasting, ticketing and licensing all provide opportunities for partnership as well as means of revenue for Organizing Committees for the Olympic Games (OCOGs), as well as contributing to the overall legacy and success for the host community. Thus, the purpose of this research paper is to examine the overall marketing impact of the 2006 Torino Winter Olympic Games with the projected marketing expectations and programs of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games. Specifically, this short essay will focus on the domestic marketing programs and partnerships of VANOC within a sponsorship marketing framework.

Introduction

Much has been written about the growth and development of the modern Olympics. These advances have not only enhanced the size and structure of the Games themselves, but they have contributed to a transformation in the management of the programs and policies of the IOC, the Olympic Movement, and the Olympic Games. Central to this managerial growth and development has been the success of the contemporary Olympic marketing programs--including policies for the sponsorship, broadcasting and ticketing of the Olympics--all which are credited for creating opportunities for innovative partnerships and significant revenues for the Olympic Games and affiliated partners. These partnerships and revenues can be examined in a number of contexts, but will be discussed here in a contemporary context, through a comparative case study analysis of the marketing programs of the 2006 Torino Winter Olympic Games superimposed on the projected marketing expectations for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games.

Sport Sponsorship

Sport sponsorship is recognized as a rapidly changing and dynamic component of the sport industry. (1) While there are multiple benefits of this marketing tool, sponsorship, understood as the mutual exchange between a sport entity and a corporation (2) offers sport properties and corporate partners unique opportunities to share strategic objectives (including brand promotion and market penetration). As the sport industry--and corresponding marketing communications--has grown more cluttered and complex, marketing partnerships are prompted to create innovative platforms towards achieving end-goals for a myriad of sport properties, partners, and ultimately, consumers. Further, modern marketing partnerships are demonstrating enhanced holistic models of interpretation, and offer a multitude of enhanced opportunities for marketing success. The current context of the Olympic Games-considered as the pinnacle of marketing properties--offers an excellent opportunity to analyze the breadth and depth of sophisticated marketing programming.

Olympic Marketing

TOP stands for The Olympic Partners Program. Launched in 1985, the TOP program is managed by the IOC and offers exclusive worldwide marketing rights to both the Winter and Summer Games within a set marketing cycle. (3) By 1992, for example, the TOP II program's share to the world's NOCs was $35 million (US); the current projected contributions for TOP VI are expected to reach $139 million (US). (4) This TOP program is important in that it significantly contributes to the revenue of Olympic Games Organizing Committees. The tremendous growth of the TOP program has enabled the IOC to provide equitable revenue distribution throughout the Olympic Movement, which ultimately assists in the training and developmental support of Olympic athletes and teams, including the support to many needy nations and territories. (5) The current TOP Partnership program (VI) is supported by eleven multinational corporations and is projected to generate approximately $866 million (US) for the 2005-2008 Olympic quadrennium in combined financial and in-kind support for the Olympic Movement. …