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Avon is close to completing its most "ambitious event- marketing initiative ever" by signing a "surprise sponsorship" of the '96 Summer Games in Atlanta, according to Terry Lefton in this week's BRANDWEEK. Sources familiar with the deal put the price tag at $8M, with ACOP granting Avon "rights to Olympic Rings," and Atlanta's Olympic flame logo. Avon also plans to increase its Olympic effort overseas, where sales now account for around two-thirds of overall revenues, by purchasing sponsorships from at least eight more countries -- in Europe, Latin America and Asia. Avon is reportedly looking for an ex-Olympian spokesperson for a "campaign with an expected theme of women, teamwork, and achievement." According to Lefton, the sponsorship "furthers Avon's attempts to position itself as THE women's company, as Avon hopes to "launch a series of Olympic-themed health and beauty product lines" (BRANDWEEK, 2/20).
An audit by Price Waterhouse for the Metropolitan Atlanta Olympic Games Authority says that the $1.58B cost of the '96 Games will be covered by ACOG's fund raising, but the firm forecasts only a $32M cash cushion beyond that, down from a $60M estimate in January '94. The margin would still be within an "acceptable range" of 5% of the committee's uncommitted revenue, or 2% of the total budget. Robbie Pound of Price Waterhouse says the "next five months are critical" for ACOG. ACOG COO A.D. Frazier disputed the audit, saying that Price Waterhouse found a smaller cushion "because it is less confident than he is about some revenue projections." Frazier says around 60% of ACOG's forecasted revenues have been committed (Melissa Turner, ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 2/21). Frazier said upcoming announcements regarding sponsorships "should brighten the financial forecast" (Lyle Harris, ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 2/20). NATIONAL PROFILE: According to Dave Griesing in this week's BUSINESS WEEK, ACOG must "move swiftly" with signing up remaining sponsorships to keep their pledge that the Games would go on without public funding. Many "would-be" global sponsors have "balked at the original $40M asking price for 10 major categories" -- as of now, no domestic auto company has signed on -- and ACOG President Billy Payne has had to sell "smaller bits of turf" in close to 50 different categories (BUSINESS WEEK, 2/27 issue).
ACOG announced its "Olympic Patron Program" yesterday that will allow fans to purchase a $50,000 package of 64 event tickets, parking passes, access to housing in private homes and "patron credentials." Also available: luxury suites ranging from $10,500 for a six-seat box at one of the soccer venues to a $1.32M 54-seat suite at Olympic Stadium. (Michael Hiestand, USA TODAY, 2/21).