SBD/Issue 21/Olympics

Cadbury Lined Up As 2012 Sponsor Amid Economic Uncertainty

LOCOG execs are set to announce that Cadbury "will sign up to sponsor the 2012 Games in a contract that could be worth" US$34.1M, providing "welcome relief from the gloom of the credit crunch hanging over the sport," according to Kevin Eason of the LONDON TIMES. Lloyds TSB, a Tier One sponsor of the 2012 Games and "one of the most high-profile casualties" of the crisis, is committed to about US$136.3M worth of backing for the London Games, plus at least US$17M in "'activating' the sponsorship." But "there is confusion over what happens if the bank is merged with HBOS and the Lloyds TSB name is lost." Experts predicted that a combined HBOS-Lloyds TSB "would maintain the sponsorship, although it may mean a substantial renegotiation, which could cost the bank even more." Meanwhile, RBS execs confirmed last night that "they have no plans to scale back and they are thought to be keen to renew their deal to sponsor rugby union's Six Nations Championship when their present contract," worth about US$6.8M a season, expires early next year. Eason notes the "most likely cutbacks at RBS could be money handed to individuals," including the bank's US$1.7M a year deal with ATPer Andy Murray. Also, F1 team Williams is "facing an anxious time, with not only RBS as a title sponsor," but with sponsor Iceland-based investment company Bagur Group in "serious trouble" (LONDON TIMES, 10/14).

STAYING ON TOP: Tribune Co. Olympic reporter Philip Hersh reports the USOC "has refrained from threatening to use its ultimate leverage," which would be to drop "out of the IOC's global sponsorship program because it prevents the USOC from seeking sponsors in the same categories (such as computers, information technology, soft drinks, credit cards)." If the USOC were to "sell those categories on its own, it almost certainly would bring in more dollars than what it gets from the percentage of global revenues." While dropping out of the IOC's program "would infuriate the IOC members who rail against the USOC for any reason, it would probably benefit U.S. athletes." The argument that it would "prevent any other U.S. city from becoming an Olympic host is specious, because the IOC needs the increased TV and sponsorship revenues that devolve from Games in the United States" (L.A. TIMES, 10/14).

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