IOC see challenges selling Rio and Sochi Olympics

The head of marketing for the IOC warned Monday that organizers for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics are facing tough conditions trying to sell local sponsorships for South America’s first games. Speaking Monday before the International Olympic Committee‘s general assembly in Buenos Aires, Gerhard Heiberg said the climate had changed in Brazil, which is facing […]

The head of marketing for the IOC warned Monday that organizers for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics are facing tough conditions trying to sell local sponsorships for South America’s first games.

Speaking Monday before the International Olympic Committee‘s general assembly in Buenos Aires, Gerhard Heiberg said the climate had changed in Brazil, which is facing a slowing economy that makes companies less willing to invest in sponsorships.

Leo Gryner, chief operating officer of the Rio organizing committee, acknowledged last month that $700 million in government money might be needed to balance the operating budget for the games if there is a shortfall in selling local sponsorships.

Rio’s organizing committee exceeded its initial sponsorship target of 1 billion reals ($440 million).

Heiberg said Beijing 2008 and London 2012 each reached about $1.2 billion in local sponsorships, and many expect Rio to have a similar target.

Heiberg, head of the IOC marketing commission, did not reveal any current Rio sponsorship numbers.

“They (Rio) had a very strong start in the commercial program and they have completed several deals so far,” Heiberg said. “However Rio is facing a tough Brazilian economy and the climate, the market, certainly looks very different than when the program was launched.”

Rio officials have acknowledged that next year’s World Cup in Brazil has cut into the pool of sponsors interested in investing in the games. Inflation and the loss of value in the local currency in terms of dollars also hurt.

Meanwhile, the head of the Sochi Olympics asked the IOC on Sunday to help “stop this campaign and this speculation” related to the anti-gay law that has been overshadowing preparations for next year’s Winter Games in Russia.

Heiberg said sponsors are “afraid” of the fallout of possible demonstrations in Sochi.

“I think this could ruin a lot for all of us… We have to be prepared.”

IOC President Jacques Rogge said the Olympic body will remind athletes to refrain from any protests or political gestures during the Feb. 7-23 Sochi Games.

Sochi organizing chief Dmitry Chernyshenko was asked at the IOC general assembly about the possible impact of the legislation that bans gay “propaganda.”

He said the Russian government had made clear the law would not affect the games, and he urged the IOC to convey the message to “those who are still trying to speculate on this very transparent and very clear topic.”

“It’s very important to have your support to stop this campaign and this speculation regarding this issue,” Chernyshenko said.

Brands Articles

CMOs want the “brand” back in branded content

At IAB Engage, marketers for Molson, Kraft, Cara Foods talk branded content strategy

Airbnb signs deal to sponsor 2016 Rio Olympic Games

Online community is the Games' first alternative accommodations sponsor

Grey Canada gets a shot at Tequila Herradura

Brown-Forman brand awards digital CRM and below-the-line duties to WPP shop

Metro pairs fashion with food

Grocer partners with fashion magazine Flare on food-focused marketing campaign

Activia kicks off campaign with world record attempt

Yogurt brand positions itself as a "lifestyle partner" through Rogers Media partnership

HBO Canada gives fans a chance to sit on the Iron Throne

Selection of Game of Thrones products available at Toronto pop-up shop

Frank & Oak push pop-up competition in the U.S.

Montreal-based retailer is giving consumers the power to pick temporary locations

How to create an engaging flyer

Expert Patrick Rodmell shares five best practices that apply to all retail sectors

What the Heinz-Kraft merger could mean for Canada

Experts say deal will likely lead to layoffs as the two companies find ways to share costs