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SBD/Issue 219/OlympicsPrint All
Rogge Says He Has No Regrets
On Beijing Hosting Olympics
INTERNET ACCESS STILL AN ISSUE: IOC Dir of Communications Giselle Davies said that the IOC is "continuing to encourage the hosts to move in the right direction to provide the widest internet access possible." But AROUND THE RINGS' Mark Bisson noted some reporters are "interpreting the IOC instruction as a climbdown on the issue." BOCOG "has not responded to an IOC request to improve the situation and provide unfettered internet access" (AROUNDTHERINGS.com, 8/2). In Manchester, Tania Branigan reports some Internet sites were "still off-limits last night." While the Amnesty Int'l main Web site could be accessed, its dedicated thechinadebate.org site "could not be reached." Meanwhile, the headline above a Yahoo picture gallery of musicians, acrobats and other entertainers read, "Tiananmen Square Massacre Remembered." Yahoo blamed an "automated gallery feature" for the headline, which remained on display for "at least 24 hours." The headline was "even visible from Beijing itself, presumably thanks in part to the government's relaxation of internet censorship this week" (Manchester GUARDIAN, 8/4). NBC News sources in Beijing said that they "have a way of getting around" the censorship. NBC News is working out of the Beijing Int'l Convention Center rather than the Main Press Center or the Int'l Broadcast Center, and so far NBC personnel "have not encountered any problems" (MEDIABISTRO.com, 7/31). Newsweek Beijing Bureau Chief Melinda Liu: "Most of us who live here use Internet tools, like proxy servers or VPNs, which actually allow you to more or less get around this interference. We’re not affected that much, and we may not be even aware of what’s going on day-by-day in the sort of naked Internet.” Liu added, “If your choice is bad PR versus total control, they still want total control. This is a government of control freaks … The only reason they backed down a bit on this Internet issue is because it became such a bruising controversy” ("Reliable Sources," CNN, 8/3).
FACE OF A NATION: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Blumenstein, Batson & Fowler noted China President Hu Jintao Friday held his "first news conference ever with foreign journalists." Hu appeared "stiff but confident" and said that he "hoped the Olympic Games would leave an enduring legacy for China, and help convince the world that its most populated country is committed to a peaceful rise to prosperity." But "just as the moves toward openness signaled progress, they also demonstrated China's penchant for control." While reporters from the Wall Street Journal, Reuters, AFP and NBC News were invited to attend, "many foreign journalists weren't" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 8/2).
Quality Of Beijing's Air Has Been
Hot Topic Leading Up To Games
China Using Bird's Nest As Focal Point
In Country's Olympic Coming Out Party
CENTER STAGE: A FINANCIAL TIMES editorial states, “Any mishap that points to a wider flaw in the Chinese system -- pollution over Beijing, heavy-handed policing -- will be highlighted remorselessly by the world’s media.” The Olympics “might have been designed to showcase some of the most impressive aspects of today’s China -- modernity, wealth, achievement. But the games are also an event that could bring out the worst in China: paranoia, nationalism, control-freakery” (FINANCIAL TIMES, 8/4). In Detroit, Tom Watkins writes, “It seems likely that there will be some level of disruption to the games by people who want to call attention to China’s record on such issues as human rights, Tibet, Darfur, the environment, unfair trade practices and treatment of the Fulan Gong.” While the Olympics “should be devoid of politics, they never have been. Yet the ideal of bringing the world together on peaceful terms has never been more important” (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 8/4).
BROKEN PROMISES: A WASHINGTON POST editorial is written under the header, “The Security Olympics. China Shows The World Its Model For A 21st-Century Police State.” China is emerging as an “unapologetic autocracy that censors the Internet, imprisons nonviolent domestic critics and bulldozes anything or anyone deemed to be in the way of a state-orchestrated showcase.” And the IOC “has meekly gone along with Beijing’s violation of its promises” (WASHINGTON POST, 8/3). A SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE editorial is written under the header, “Fiasco Olympics? Broken Promises, Bullying Bode Ill For Beijing.” There has been “no evolution toward a more open society,” and the Beijing Games are “at least as likely to set back China’s image as help it” (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 8/4). A SAN GABRIEL VALLEY TRIBUNE editorial stated while the Chinese government “can’t order the skies to clear,” they “can stick to their agreements.” But instead, they have "continued to clamp down on the freedom of information in every which way” (SAN GABRIEL VALLEY TRIBUNE, 8/3). A PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER editorial stated the hope is that the Olympics “will help make China freer. But its actions to date show how hard that will be” (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 8/3). DAILY VARIETY’s Clifford Coonan notes after “days of negative publicity for failing to meet its promises to be more open for the Games … Beijing is trying to balance the need to give some leeway to its critics with fears that it could be embarrassed by protest groups out to make a point” (DAILY VARIETY, 8/4). Three different public protest zones have been set up by BOCOG, but Chicago Tribune Beijing bureau chief Evan Osnos said, “There’s a difference saying there are protest areas, and then, in fact, allowing people to protest there without consequences” (“Today,” NBC, 8/4).
IOC Catching Heat For China Blocking
Media's Access To Certain Web Sites
Aquatic Centre Draws Rave
Reviews From Architecture Critic
MASSIVE MAKEOVER: In London, Clifford Coonan notes of the 31 Olympics venues, 12 are new, 11 are renovated older buildings and eight are temporary structures. Beijing's new architecture "looks amazing," and the building boom "has been matched by impressive levels of organisation elsewhere." And despite the "destruction of large swathes of the city, most of the people remain unapologetically enthusiastic about the games" (London INDEPENDENT, 8/4). Also in London, Jane Macartney notes Beijing has spent US$40B and "spared no effort" to make the Olympics the "most spectacular Games of modern times." The "not-so-subliminal message that the venues are determined to project is that China is a force to be reckoned with." It seems Beijing "has come full circle" (LONDON TIMES, 8/4). In N.Y., Filip Bondy writes the Bird's Nest is an "architectural knockout" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 8/4). But in Pittsburgh, Shelly Anderson wrote while observers may be "dazzled by the modern, almost pop-art Olympic venues," it is "unclear if that will be enough to quiet concerns over human rights issues" (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 8/3).
RETRO-CHIC: In Chicago, Blair Kamin wrote the "spectacular architecture will play a leading role" in the Games, as TV cameras will capture "some of the most eye-popping new structures on the planet." But Chicago Mayor Richard Daley "already has signaled that a Chicago Games would be based not on the Beijing model, but on the Barcelona model, which emphasized refurbishing the urban spaces between buildings rather than attention-getting architecture" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 8/3).
Rogge Speaks At Grand Opening Of The
GE Imagination Center Today In Beijing
CATCHING UP WITH FOSS: After the official grand opening, Foss answered a few questions from THE DAILY about GE's Olympic sponsorship.
Q: What's the purpose of the GE Imagination Center exhibit? Why do this?
Foss: It's really for identification. GE, from a standpoint of brand awareness and company awareness, had an opportunity to highlight our technologies. Here in China, up until two years ago when we became an Olympic sponsor and really began focusing on this area, not many people knew GE, they didn't know who we were and what we did.
Q: Was becoming a TOP sponsor purely a China play?
Foss: It was a China play. It was also a natural extension of the relationship that NBC has had with the IOC. Clearly, it fit into a strategy we have for growth, big growth, here in Asia. It is not only about the Olympics, it's about the other $250B that's being spent on infrastructure throughout China. We're an infrastructure company. You've got 200 cities with over 1 million people. You're going to build airports, hospitals, production of energy, power plants, water -- it's all stuff that we do.
Foss Says TOP Sponsorship Has
Been Beneficial For General Electric
Foss: From an incremental growth standpoint, we can look and identify about $700M of business that's directly related to the Olympics here in Beijing.
Q: So has that business already paid for the TOP sponsorship?
Foss: Oh, I wouldn't say that. ... It's revenue, not profit I'm talking about. It isn't just about the revenue piece. You've got the marketing pieces and the PR pieces and the hospitality pieces. We'll entertain upward of 2,200 customers here. You add that up, it's more than just paying for a sponsorship. But they are all aimed at awareness of our brand. It's been very good for us.
For more on this story, our Q&A with Foss and Jay Weiner’s first weekend in Beijing, please visit www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/beijinggames.
Agent Helps Liukin Beef Up Endorsement
Portfolio Ahead Of Beijing Olympics
Torres Inks Multi-Million Dollar, Two-Book Deal
With Random House's Broadway Books
HAMM WILL STILL BE FEATURED: Even though U.S. gymnast Paul Hamm pulled out of the Beijing Games last week, he has not been forgotten by his key sponsors. Visa has developed a 30-second spot and a Web film starring Hamm, and he is also a key part of the TOP sponsor's "Go World" Web presentation. All commercial spots are expected to run as planned online; apparently they were not definitely set for over-the-air TV. And Visa's "Go World" video will not be altered either. There had been talk that Hamm would be in Beijing after the men's gymnastics competition, as many of his sponsors sought him for hospitality purposes. But his agent, Shade Global's Sheryl Shade, said today that Hamm will stay stateside to prepare for the post-Olympic gymnastics tour. Along with Visa, Hamm also has deals with Johnson & Johnson, Chevron, Hilton, adidas, GK Elite Sportswear and the American Dairy Association for its "Got Milk?" campaign (Jay Weiner, THE DAILY).
ALREADY LOOKING TO LONDON: In N.Y., Holly Sanders reports Visa is "already evaluating its lineup of athletes for London in 2012," as marketers "will start working the phones as soon as Beijing is over." Q Sports Founder Patrick Quinn: "Within two weeks of Beijing, we will have done our first outreach. You have companies that laugh, but you have to do it." Octagon's Peter Carlisle, who reps several Olympians including swimmers Michael Phelps and Katie Hoff, said, "A lot of what you see -- the positioning and the developing of the athletes' images for corporate interests -- is done well in advance of the Games. I'm less interested in signing an athlete after they do well at the Games." Octagon is "looking to prolong the spotlight" for Phelps and Hoff, each considered favorites to win several gold medals, as it is "planning a sponsored media tour for the pair and the firm's other Olympians as soon as the Games wind down" (N.Y. POST, 8/4).
Sponsors of the Beijing Games are "launching possibly the largest advertising and marketing campaign ever," according to Kirby Chien of REUTERS. Beijing-based media consultancy R3 Principal Greg Paull: "On a global scale, I don't think you are going to get this kind of investment again." R3 indicated that advertisers in China will "spend 19[%] more in 2008 than a year earlier to about $54.3[B], for an 'Olympic effect' of about $8.6[B] in additional spending." In addition, Paull noted that Olympic sponsors will spend $3.2B this year, up 52% from '07 (REUTERS, 8/3).
Nike Plans To Have Opened 4,000
Retail Stores In China By Year's End
PUMA KING: The FINANCIAL TIMES' Vanessa Friedman reported Puma this week in Beijing is "celebrating the debut of its inaugural 'It Bag,' the first such attempt to penetrate the trend-driven handbag market on the part of a sportswear company." The bag's name is part of Puma's larger "Runway collection," whose name refers to both its "appearance in a catwalk fashion show and Puma's sponsorship of 10 different track and field teams," including Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt. Puma CEO Jochen Zeitz: "We felt it was time we had an It bag." Friedman noted "accessories are among Puma's fastest growing product categories." Zeitz: "Chinese consumers have been focused on the performance aspect in the past but now they are definitely looking at fashion. Sponsorship in the Olympics does not push significant sales because there are so many different sports involved and you can't be everywhere, but the fashion focus on athletes gives you visibility because it is such a major event for China" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 8/2).
Watch The Clip
NOTES: USA TODAY's Petrecca, Horovitz & Howard reviews IOC TOP sponsor Johnson & Johnson's "Thanks, Mom" Olympic campaign and notes the heart-tugging ads show athletes sharing "unscripted stories about how their moms helped shape their lives." The company "have taken the tears out of baby shampoo -- but it put them into" the ads (USA TODAY, 8/4)....A new NBC Universal promo for the theatrical release of "The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor" ties in scenes of the movie with the Beijing Games. The film is set in China, and Dartmouth Univ. Tuck School of Business professor Kevin Lane Keller said, "They really are trying to weave this parallel story with China and the Olympics and this film, and it doesn't really flow together very well." In N.Y., Stephanie Clifford reports Universal moved the film's scheduled mid-July opening to last Friday "to try to get a lift from the Olympics." Meanwhile, the ads have been running since July 1 on NBC nets, in Universal theme parks and in N.Y. taxicabs (N.Y. TIMES, 8/4).
Cablevision and NBC Universal "have not come to an agreement for Cablevision to carry 2,200 hours of live online, broadband Summer Games coverage" that will be streamed to computers, according to Richard Sandomir of the N.Y. TIMES. The failure to reach a deal "also means that Cablevision subscribers will not receive NBC's new Olympic basketball and soccer channels." NBC said that about 90% of the "nation's subscribers to cable, satellite and telecommunications services would have access to the enhanced Olympic package" (N.Y. TIMES, 8/2). On Long Island, Neil Best noted between 70-80% of "homes with broadband Internet on Long Island subscribe through Cablevision" (NEWSDAY, 8/2).
NBC's "Today" Show Broadcasting
From Beijing During The Olympics
PEACOCK PLAN: The N.Y. TIMES' Sandomir today previews NBC's Olympics coverage and notes fans watching online "will not see live gymnastics, track and field, swimming, diving, volleyball or beach volleyball." Those sports are "reserved for NBC" from either 7:00 or 8:00pm ET to "midnight or beyond, when the audience is at its height and advertisers are paying the most." If something "important happens online, it may find its way into prime time." But certain events "will not be available online until they are done and available on-demand." NBC said that "adding an enormous online component will help in prime time." NBC Olympics President Gary Zenkel: "We proved to ourselves in Athens that providing as much coverage as we have the capacity for fuels the buzz in the Games" (N.Y. TIMES, 8/4). The FINANCIAL TIMES' Joshua Chaffin reported NBC has "taken out an insurance policy -- said to be worth $1[B] -- in the event that its telecast is disturbed." NBC claims to have sold 96% of its ad inventory, and some ad execs said that the net "achieved this, in part, by offering discounts to its Olympic customers on other business." One ad exec said, "They were willing to take a hit elsewhere to make the Olympics look good" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 8/3).
CANADIAN BACON: The GLOBE & MAIL's William Houston reported the CBC has sold 80% of its Olympics ad time and "expects to see that percentage increase to 90" by Friday's Opening Ceremony. The net has been selling 30-second primetime spots for C$18,250, while a 30-second spot in the morning is selling for C$4,650 and 12:00-3:00am spots are going for C$8,100. The CBC "expects Beijing audiences to surpass the Athens numbers from 2004 because programming in prime time will be live starting" at 9:00pm ET, while primetime action from Athens was tape delayed. The net, which paid C$45M for rights to the Beijing Games, "won't say whether its coverage will turn a profit," but an ad source "believes it will" (GLOBE & MAIL, 8/2).
Neirotti Giving 28 College Students Behind-
The-Scenes Look At Beijing Olympics
The students are enrolled in her "Behind the Scenes at the 2008 Summer Olympic Games." Before leaving for Beijing, they heard lectures on the business side of the Games, and once there will meet with various executives and groups. We caught up with Delpy Neirotti shortly before she left, and will get periodic updates while she's in Beijing.
Q: What will be your role in Beijing?
Delpy Neirotti: I will organize lectures with high-level executives associated with the Olympic Games, including IOC members and staff, corporate sponsors, BOCOG, international federations, media, athletes, volunteers and the U.S. Olympic Committee. I will also arrange behind-the-scene tours of the Olympic venues. We will also be collecting data from foreign visitors about their consumer behavior, motivations and perceptions of the Games.
Q: What are you most interested in while at the Games?
Delpy Neirotti: The overall management and marketing of the Games and comparing these Olympics to the previous 13 that I have attended. Of particular interest to me is how the Chinese will handle any crisis or negative event, media access and counterfeit merchandise.
Q: What's been the biggest area of preparation?
Delpy Neirotti: Dealing with the logistics of housing, speakers and tours. Also making sure students are well prepared both about the Olympics and Chinese culture.
Neirotti Says She Is Most Looking
Forward To Opening Ceremony
Delpy Neirotti: I'm really looking forward to attending the Opening Ceremony and witnessing the pride of the Chinese people, who have anxiously awaited these Games. My major concern is figuring out mass transit and how to get to all our meetings in a timely and safe fashion. As part of the learning experience our group travels by public transport, no private coach.
Q: What book are you bringing to Beijing to read?
Delpy Neirotti: Student term papers! The students had to turn in papers two-thirds complete prior to departure. The final paper is submitted upon return, incorporating information and observations gained on-site in Beijing and data results from spectator surveys. The papers cover all aspects of the management and marketing of the Games, ranging from economic impact, legacy and environment, to facilities, transportation and ticketing, to ambush marketing, new media and public educational campaigns.
Q: Before you leave, do you have any other thoughts?
Delpy Neirotti: Flexibility will be the key for these Games, as things seem to change daily. Student flights were just re-routed as a decision to close the airport during the Opening Ceremony was made. My students have an interesting flight -- going from DC to New York to Seoul, Korea, and then Beijing!
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Clearer Beijing Days Result Of Recent
Increase In Antipollution Measures?
AIR QUALITY FLUCTUATING: NBC’s Matt Lauer reported from atop the Great Wall of China and said the country “is ready” for the Games. Lauer: “We got here on Saturday afternoon, blue sky, and it was beautiful. (Sunday) was the same. Today, as the expression goes, not so much. We’ve had a fog layer that’s held in a lot of the pollution” (“Today,” NBC, 8/4). NBC's Lester Holt Saturday said the “city is ready, it looks great." Holt: "They’ve had two great days of weather here in terms of the smog. Both mornings, I’ve been able to wake up, look outside my window and see the mountains. That’s a big deal here” ("Today," NBC, 8/2). The SUN's Jones today writes the story in Beijing "the past two days has been the smog-free host city greeting everybody." Canadian Chef de Mission Sylvie Bernier said, "The best thing is the weather. I went with my family to the Great Wall of China [Sunday] and, while I've been there twice before, it was just stunning to be able to see so far." Meanwhile, Canadian Olympic Committee Dir of Games Carol Assalian said, "It's already agreed that the Olympic Village is the best, winter or summer, of all time. It's incredible. There's no doubt the athletes will feel that way" (TORONTO SUN, 8/4).
NOTES: All recording devices are "prohibited at the dress rehearsals" for Friday's Opening Ceremony after footage from a previous test run was leaked online last week. BOCOG Saturday said that "cameras, video cameras and recording equipment on mobile phones are prohibited" from the remaining rehearsals. BOCOG added "any information leaked to the public about the opening ceremony will be dealt with severely" (NEWS.com.au, 8/3)....The IOC announced that it would donate $4M to "help rebuild the sports infrastructure in the earthquake-damaged Sichuan province of China." BOCOG and the Chinese Olympic Committee matched that donation with $2M each (N.Y. TIMES, 8/3)....IOC President Jacques Rogge said that "talks with the [USOC] over a new formula to determine its share of revenues from IOC marketing and TV revenues will be held in Beijing once USOC chair Peter Ueberroth arrives" (AROUNDTHERINGS.com, 8/2)....The AP's Ben Feller reported President Bush is spending four days in Beijing for the Games, and he is "doing more than just dropping by." Bush plans to "take in as much as he can, with large blocs on his Beijing schedule devoted to watching athletes compete." No U.S. president has attended an Olympics on foreign ground (AP, 8/2).