In 2012, the Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games will be hosted in London. Being the biggest sporting event in the world besides the FIFA World Cup 2010, the London Games will also become one of the most expensive sporting events in history.
Usually the refinancing of major sporting events is primarily based on the sale of broadcast and sponsorship rights, merchandising and ticketing. In relation to sponsorship, a special characteristic of the Olympic Games is that the Games operate a 'Clean Venue' policy meaning that the Games venues are free of any branding (with the exception of discreet sports apparel logos on competitors clothing and the official timekeeper, Omega). The lack of television exposure of sponsors means that the organizer, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has to ensure that sponsors gain the maximum awareness in connection with the Games through other means, e.g. through public awareness campaigns. On the whole sponsors benefit through leveraging the sponsorship rights themselves.
Until the Los Angeles Games 1984, the IOC never had a strategic sponsorship strategy, which resulted in loss-making events such as the Montreal Games 1976. The Los Angeles Games 1984 were the first Games where the IOC granted exclusive rights to sponsors in their respective industry sector and received higher amounts of sponsorship fees in exchange. The sponsorship fee for being an official sponsor of the Olympic Games 2012 is estimated to be in the region of £80m. However, it is not only the exclusive circle of official sponsors, but also other companies, that strive to benefit from the public awareness and worldwide media presence in connection with a major sporting event such as the Olympic Games. This is the playing field of the phenomenon ambush marketing and its alleged threat to sponsorship values at the Olympic Games.
What is Ambush Marketing?
Ambush marketing in relation to sports can be broadly defined as any kind of unauthorized...