Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Golden Chance for Small Firms to Get in on the Game

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Golden Chance for Small Firms to Get in on the Game

Article excerpt


[bar] FOR some small London businesses, next summer's Olympics seem to offer little but disruption. Many believe they've been priced out of celebrations: the final bill for hosting guests for corporate hospitality at gold medal events is likely to be more than [pounds sterling]61,000, the dead-cert athletes are too expensive to sponsor, and the lesser-known ones may not even make the Games.

Meanwhile, the organisers' strong advertising restrictions -- banned words that are reserved for top-tier sponsors and licensees include Olympic, Olympiad and Olympian, London 2012, gold, silver, bronze and summer -- will make it tough for SMEs and entrepreneurs to exploit marketing opportunities.

The Government has already announced a clampdown on ambush marketing: firms who carry out skywriting or handing out flyers within 200 metres of any Olympic venue face a [pounds sterling]20,000 fine. But there is another way for companies to absorb some Olympic stardust and secure corporate tickets to the Games: Team 2012, an official initiative launched to raise money for British sport. The scheme, run by Locog, the British Olympic Association, ParalympicsGB and UK Sport, is open to any firm with an annual turnover below [pounds sterling]100 million.

It aims to raise money for athletes' coaching, travel, medicine, kit and training to help Brits win more medals at London 2012. It's not cheap, at [pounds sterling]15,000 (although firms can pay over two years) but it is taxefficient.

"As long as firms can prove they're paying up for the benefit of the business, it could be put down as an expense, which would be taxdeductible," says Patrick Harrison at accountancy group PKF.

Companies receive eight tickets to the Olympic events plus corporate hospitality, 20 invitations to events at venues that include the BOA headquarters and the House of Lords, the right to use the Team 2012 logo on websites and emails, and staff training passes to seminars on teamwork and leadership. …

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