News Analysis: In the Shadow of the Olympics?

Marketing, November 28, 2007 | Go to article overview

News Analysis: In the Shadow of the Olympics?


Attracting big-name sponsors to the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games could prove tough.

The news that Glasgow had won the right to host the 2014 Commonwealth Games was met by an outpouring of national pride in Scotland. At the city's Old Fruitmarket on the night of the announcement, beamed live from Sri Lanka, more than 1200 Glaswegians danced as The Proclaimers belted out their 80s hit, Five Hundred Miles, which had become the bid's theme tune.

In these early years of devolved government, the chance to showcase Scotland to an international audience has been grasped by its politicians. First minister Alex Salmond described his vision of the event as a 'commercially attractive but not commercially cluttered Games that everyone in Scotland can access and enjoy'.

However, as the euphoria dies down, the true nature of the task in hand begins to emerge. The initial budget for the Games has been set at pounds 288m, of which Glasgow 2014 Team Limited expects pounds 50m to come from TV revenue, tickets, merchandising and sponsorship.

The bid phase was supported by six commercial partners: Highland Spring, O2, Clydesdale Bank, Diageo, First Group and BBC Scotland. However, their rights ended on the night of the announcement.

The commercial structure for the 2014 event will be introduced once the organising committee is in place, with the roles of chair and chief executive announced in the new year. In the meantime, a three-tier sponsorship for the Games has been announced, with pounds 12m coming from the top level, pounds 8m from the second and pounds 4m from the third.

Highland Spring marketing director Sally Stanley says the chance to be associated with the bid was 'irresistible'. 'Having such a prestigious event in our own back yard was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,' she says. She is keen for the company's role to continue, confirming that Highland Spring will be bidding to become 'the official water' for 2014 In a fiercely competitive product category, the Commonwealth Games represents good value for money, particularly when compared with London 2012. 'The Olympics is too pricey for us,' adds Stanley.

The London Olympics may yet play its part in determining the appetite for Glasgow's event. On the positive side, it is possible that its halo effect could be extended for a further two years. Brands that have supported so- called 'minority sports', for example, will be able to leverage their involvement still further, according to Alun James, managing director of sponsorship agency Four Sports, Arts and Sponsorship. Siemens and Norwich Union, which are backing rowing and athletics respectively at London 2012, are two cases in point.

The downside is that the sheer scale of the Olympics may crowd out the smaller event. The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) will be selling its top-level partnerships for the next 18 months.

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