Selasa, 19 Agustus 2008

Sponsors walking away from the Olympics

With the opening ceremonies for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games just days away, corporate sponsors are getting ready to do victory laps of their own. This year's Olympics have been hyped as a blockbuster for marketers, a chance to ride the wave of Chinese national pride that may translate into billions of dollars in sales of Adidas sneakers, McDonald's Big Macs, or General Electric wind turbines.

But Beijing 2008 is likely to go down as the high-water mark of the Olympic sponsorship program. While the Games offer unique attractions to sponsors, multinationals are already looking more critically at whether the payback will be worth it for future Games. Of the 12 global sponsors for the Beijing Olympics, only eight have signed on for the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver and 2012 Summer Games in London. (The International Olympic Committee sells sponsorships in four-year increments to cover both Winter and Summer Games.)

Among the high-profile sponsors deciding to back away is Lenovo. Its sponsorship of the 2006 Winter Games in Turin and the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing will be a one-time shot for the Chinese PC maker. Other current sponsors who so far have not committed to ponying up for the next pair of Games will be Johnson & Johnson and Manulife Financial. Even longtime Olympic supporter Eastman Kodak, a sponsor since the IOC first established its global partnership program in 1986, has pulled the plug. "It's just not the best way for us to spend our money," says Kodak Chief Executive Antonio Perez.


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