SBD/August 13, 2012/Olympics

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  • On The Grounds: SBD/SBJ Updates From London

    In addition to the aggregated content in SBD, please visit our daily website produced by SBD/SBJ devoted to the London Olympics. Read from our reporters on the ground, Tripp Mickle and John Ourand, as well as other contributors, about the latest news from the Games, including an overview at how the London Games will be remembered, a prediction that London will be the last tape-delayed Olympics and a look at which media outlets benefited the most from 'ambush broadcasting.'

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  • NBC's Primetime Rating Remains Strong; NBC Sports Net Draws Best Audience Ever

    NBC was averaging a 17.6 final rating and 31.1 million viewers for primetime London Games coverage heading into last night’s Closing Ceremony, up 9% and 12%, respectively, from the same 16-night period at the '08 Beijing Games. Saturday night’s coverage finished with a 12.6 rating and 21.8 million viewers, up 22% from the same night in Beijing and marking the 15th time in 16 nights that average viewership has surpassed the comparable night four years ago.

    PRIMETIME OLYMPIC RATINGS
     
    Day
    London
    Beijing
    Athens
    Sydney
    Atlanta
    Opening Ceremony
    Fri.
    21.0
    18.8
    14.6
    16.2
    23.6
    Night 2
    Sat.
    15.8
    13.9
    11.8
    13.1
    17.2
    Night 3
    Sun.
    19.8
    18.1
    15.4
    14.6
    22.9
    Night 4
    Mon.
    18.0
    17.6
    16.6
    13.8
    22.9
    Night 5
    Tues.
    21.8
    20.0
    18.3
    15.5
    27.2
    Night 6
    Wed.
    17.9
    16.7
    17.3
    14.6
    22.4
    Night 7
    Thurs.
    21.1
    17.9
    19.3
    14.9
    26.8
    Night 8
    Fri.
    16.2
    15.2
    14.4
    14.9
    17.9
    Night 9
    Sat.
    15.9
    17.6
    13.6
    13.3
    19.4
    Night 10
    Sun.
    17.5
    16.0
    15.8
    16.0
    23.4
    Night 11
    Mon.
    15.8
    15.8
    16.4
    15.8
    26.4
    Night 12
    Tues.
    17.6
    16.3
    15.7
    12.4
    21.3
    Night 13
    Wed.
    16.8
    15.2
    15.3
    13.9
    19.8
    Night 14
    Thurs.
    13.6
    13.8
    13.8
    14.0
    20.7
    Night 15
    Fri.
    13.2
    10.5
    12.5
    10.6
    16.1
    Night 16
    Sat.
    12.6
    10.2
    11.1
    10.5
    15.8
    16-Night Avg.
    17.6
    16.2
    15.2
    14.0
    21.6
                 

    DAY CARE: NBC’s 10 weekday daytime Olympic telecasts averaged 7.1 million viewers during the Games, marking the best average for that segment for any non-U.S. Olympics ever. Viewership during each telecast topped its comparable period during Beijing. The 7.1 million average was up 31% from Beijing and 37% from the '04 Athens Games.

    JUST FOR KICKS: NBC Sports Network finished with an average of 4.35 million viewers for Thursday’s U.S.-Japan Gold Medal women’s soccer game, marking the net’s most-viewed telecast ever. The figure tops the previous high of 3.6 million viewers set during Game Three of the ’10 Blackhawks-Flyers NHL Stanley Cup Final. Additionally, the match drew 1.47 million streams on NBCOlympics.com, marking the most-streamed event in Olympics history, just ahead of the 1.46 million streams for the London Games women’s all-around gold medal event (NBC). Meanwhile, Telemundo averaged 3.6 million viewers for Mexico’s win over Brazil in the men’s gold medal soccer match on Saturday morning, marking the net’s most-viewed Olympic event ever (Telemundo). The CBC averaged 1.6 million viewers for Canada’s bronze medal win over France in women’s soccer on Thursday morning, which marked the team’s first medal in Olympics history (CBC).

    MOST-VIEWED EVENTS IN HISTORY OF NBC SPORTS NETWORK
    DATE
    EVENT
    VIEWERS (000)
    8/9/12
    Olympics: Women's Soccer Gold Medal match: U.S.-Japan
    4,350
    6/2/10
    NHL Stanley Cup Final: Blackhawks-Flyers: Game Three
    3,600
    6/4/09
    NHL Stanley Cup Final: Penguins-Red Wings: Game Four
    3,448
    8/6/12
    Olympics: Men's Basketball Pool Play: U.S.-Argentina
    3,330
    7/28/12
    Olympics: Rowing qualifying
    3,140
         

    THAT'S A WRAP: NBC earned an 18.7 overnight rating for last night's Closing Ceremony, marking the best overnight for a non-U.S. Games Closing Ceremony ever. While overnight ratings are subject to change when final figures are released later today, the 18.7 rating is up 3% from Beijing and 30% from Athens eight years ago (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).

    SOCIAL MEDIA NUMBERS: The AP’s David Bauder reports Twitter “estimates there were more than 50 million tweets about the Olympics, at a pace of 80,000 per minute after Jamaica's Usain Bolt won the gold medal in the 200-meter sprint.” Facebook saw the number of fans of Olympic athletes “soar: American gymnast Gabby Douglas had 14,358 followers on July 27 and 540,174 less than two weeks later.” Many factors "surely drove interest, like compelling competition and the amount of coverage available on TV and online.” NBC Sports Group Chair Mark Lazarus said of the use of social media, “It was the great unknown. We believed it would be a positive for us, and people would dialogue about the games even if they knew the outcomes. But every day in social media is a learning experience, not just for us but for every business. Yeah, I think maybe we did underestimate it" (AP, 8/12).

    HITTING THE BLEEP BUTTON
    : YAHOO SPORTS’ Martin Rogers reported NBC execs “were originally left with a decision on whether or not to censor” actor Eric Idle’s profanity during last night's Closing Ceremony “for its delayed network telecast, after it was heard on its live internet stream.” Keeping with the correct wording of the song "Always Look On the Bright Side of Life," Idle sang, “Life's a piece of (expletive), when you look at it.” NBC ended up censoring the word on the network feed (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 8/12). Meanwhile, USA TODAY's Scott Gleeson wrote NBC basketball analyst Doug Collins "seemed to say an expletive during the live television broadcast" of yesterday's U.S.-Spain men's final. Talking after the win by the U.S., Collins said, "Other teams had such celebrations after wins, but the United States knew one thing only, gold or buts, bitch." Bob Fitzgerald was the game's play-by-play announcer, and Collins "referred to his partner as 'Fitz' throughout the game." Gleeson: "But in the soundbyte in question, it's hard to decypher which word Collins is saying" (USATODAY.com, 8/12).

    RIGHT PLACE, RIGHT TIME? The AP’s Bauder noted NBC opened its primetime coverage Saturday “with a stirring one-hour documentary by Tom Brokaw on British resistance in World War II called ‘Their Finest Hour,’ but it opened the door for Twitter critics who wondered whether that scheduling was NBC's finest hour.” Many were “miffed to have to sit through a program on war before getting to sports.” NBC Sports Group Senior VP/Communications Greg Hughes said that the net “had no doubts about the programming decision.” Hughes: "It's a tribute to the host country and an exceptional film” (AP, 8/12).

    TEAMWORK: NBC Sports and Olympics VP & Creative Dir Mark Levy said that in an era “where product placement advertising has become commonplace … he has no problems mixing the editorial and advertising duties.” Levy said, "We want to work together to make sure the messaging represents both parties.” NBCU President of Research & Media Development Alan Wurtzel added that consumers “better remember the ads with Olympic themes.” The key is “to make the ads uplifting.” From NBC's standpoint, that “fits with the narrative of athletes striving to fulfill their dreams with Olympic medals.” Levy said that NBC “begins meeting with advertisers months before the games to discuss working together.” If the arrangement “works well, the advertiser is tied in the public mind to a popular, positive event and NBC gets campaigns in the weeks leading up to the games that dovetail with its interest in drumming up viewer anticipation” (AP, 8/10).

    SNEAK PEEK: In L.A., Scott Collins noted NBC used the Games “as a launch platform for new shows.” Nielsen ratings show that the net gave “Go On” a “special preview Wednesday night, averaging a healthy 16.1 million viewers" the 11:00pm ET time slot. Primetime Olympic coverage has "averaged 29.1 million viewers, so quite a few folks checked out after ‘Go On’ turned up” (LATIMES.com, 8/9). In N.Y., Bill Carter writes NBC “finds itself hoping to maintain some of the lift it gained from the Summer Games” and the “key to doing that it creating hit shows” (N.Y. TIMES, 8/13).

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  • NBC Execs Defend Broadcast Model, Say Live Streaming May Have Helped Draw Viewers

    Lazarus feels digital streaming of events helped drive interest in primetime broadcast

    NBC has “a major success story to tell with their historic television ratings" for the London Games, and the event will be "one of the five most-watched events of alltime,” according to Richard Deitsch of SI.com. When the final numbers are determined, the Olympics likely will be either the most-watched in history or second most-watched to the '08 Beijing Games. NBC also expects "to make a small profit on these Games" after it was thought they would be a money loser. NBC Sports Chair Mark Lazarus in a wide-ranging interview cited several factors for the net's success, including the "tonnage of NBC's coverage across platforms and the success of U.S. athletes in London.” Lazarus said, “We have given the consumer access on every platform and allowed them to be part of it. So they've been given the full Olympic experience and that's one reason. I think the consumers at home like to see coronations and the U.S. team has performed very well.” He added, "There's a passion for the Games that ... is undeniable." NBC execs can make the argument that the ratings “ultimately justify time shifting the opening ceremonies (which drew 40.7 million viewers) and major events in gymnastics, swimming and track.” But NBC “would be wise to heed some of the criticism from what Lazarus called a ‘loud minority’" and air some events live during the day. Lazarus was asked if he would "consider moderating NBC's strategy for the upcoming 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi and the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro when a high-profile event occurred on the weekend.” Deitsch said, “Why not show the men's 100 meters (run last Sunday afternoon) on one of NBC's networks, and still replay it in primetime later that night with all of the network's trimmings?” Lazarus said, “It is a risk that we have to calculate. I do believe it is a risk. The digital experience has taught us that people watching on those devices are interested in watching, and the research has shown that if you watch online or mobile or a tablet that you are more interested to watch it in the evening. I don't know if that will hold true if you have seen it on television” (SI.com, 8/10).

    STREAMING LIKELY HELPED MORE THAN HURT: NBC London Olympics Exec Producer Jim Bell said the party line going into the Games was that the net "didn’t think live streaming would hurt prime time." and if anything, it "helped prime time."  Bell said, "We took a big, bold swing. It worked out in itself and helped the foundation of the house -- prime time.” USA TODAY’s Michael Hiestand writes prior to the Games, NBC’s “public comments were vaguely optimistic about whether its London ratings would top its Beijing numbers.” Bell said, “I thought no way. No way! Honest to God in my heart of hearts. Nobody, not anybody in NBC and probably nobody outside, thought it would match Beijing.” Hiestand notes Bell “won’t rule out that NBC, which has the Games through 2020, might someday show more events live and then air them again in prime time.” But Bell said that primetime “remains a very important property.” Bell: “It’s important to re-emphasize that a lot of the viewing public doesn’t know about these sports” (USA TODAY, 8/13). In Tampa, Tom Jones writes no matter how NBC covered these Games, “there was going to be criticism.” Going forward, the network's “best philosophy should be this: When in doubt, show it live.” And if “it's a big enough event, show it again in prime time” (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 8/13).

    SOCIAL MEDIA EXPERIMENT: In L.A., Mary McNamara writes NBC “did more than broadcast an international sporting event -- it conducted a grand and sweeping media experiment that will have repercussions in programming and coverage for years to come.” The multi-layered system of coverage -- “live Web streaming and NBC's family of cable channels during the day with certain events held for prime time viewing -- appeared not just complicated but greedy: We will show you the events you most want to see long after they have occurred because that's how we make money.” While delivering the Olympics live via other platforms, NBC “used its prime-time coverage to curate the Games, to create an Olympic experience that both echoed the past -- when families actually gathered 'round the electronic hearth -- and visualized the future, in which the entertainment value of televised theater is considered separately from the twists of its plot lines.” But the “shortcomings of craft are not as important as the long-term implications of intent: to give the viewers the best of both worlds” (L.A. TIMES, 8/13). USA TODAY’s Robert Bianco offered some tips to NBC to “make 2016 a happier experience all around.” It “wouldn’t hurt sportscasters to remember that every defeat is not tragic, every victory is not historic, and every athlete is not heroic.” In Rio, NBC should “hire an actual Brazilian instead, an expert to introduce us to our largest and most populous southern neighbor.” And “keep up the good work.” Bianco: “That’s not sarcasm. We can take for granted how many difficult things NBC does well” (USA TODAY, 8/13).

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  • Closing Ceremony Is Part Circus, Part Concert, Part Fashion Show

    The Closing Ceremony featured music from various eras of British pop culture

    A musical “mishmash of eras and styles closed the London Olympics in a long and raucous fashion on Sunday, according to Lisa Dillman of the L.A. TIMES. There were “familiar music icons, including the Pet Shop Boys, the reunited-for-a-night Spice Girls, Annie Lennox, Ray Davies, Fatboy Slim and singer George Michael.” The Who “closed the show with a four-song set."  The show, directed by Kim Gavin and titled “A Symphony of British Music,” featured “quirky elements witnessed in the opening ceremony last month accompanied by a surreal twist” (L.A. TIMES, 8/13). In London, Mick Brown writes the Games “finally came to a tumultuous conclusion last night in a vibrant closing ceremony that would have blown the roof off the Olympic stadium, if it had one” (London TELEGRAPH, 8/13). The AP’s Paul Haven wrote London “brought the curtain down on a glorious Olympic Games on Sunday in a spectacular, technicolor pageant of landmarks, lightshows and lots of fun” (AP, 8/12). In N.Y., David Segal writes the Closing Ceremony “felt as if the Games had suddenly been programmed by England’s version of the Chamber of Commerce, which decided to take advantage of this final moment in the international spotlight to produce one long and kinetic ad for the country’s pop culture.” It was an “elaborate and at times earsplitting spectacle” (N.Y. TIMES, 8/13).

    JOB WELL DONE: The FINANCIAL TIMES’ Matthew Engel notes the event “went without apparent hitch.” The entertainment was “less complex and richly textured than Danny Boyle’s opening ceremony and quickly developed into a showcase of British talent.” The highlights were “the reunion of the 1990s group the Spice Girls, and a splendidly impudent rendition of Always Look on the Bright Side of Life by Eric Idle” (FINANCIAL TIMES, 8/13). The WALL STREET JOURNAL’s Fowler & Catton note organizers “dispensed with the history lessons of the opening ceremony for a show that reminded the world of its dominance in popular culture” (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 8/13). The GLOBE & MAIL’s Reguly, Brady & Waldie write the Closing Ceremony -- part “concert, part circus, all loud and rollicking good fun -- was slickly produced and as successful in its own quirky way as Mr. Boyle’s own extravaganza and the Games themselves.” Held under a “clear sky, the arena exploded in sexy and contagious mix of samba, carnival music, Afro-Brazilian dance and, in one of the big surprises of the evening, an appearance by Brazilian soccer star Pele,” in the official handover to Rio de Janeiro. However, Rio "has an exceedingly hard act to follow” (GLOBE & MAIL, 8/13). In Toronto, Greg Quill writes Gavin “presented a bookend summary of the themes Danny Boyle raised in his epic opening ceremony a long fortnight ago” (TORONTO STAR, 8/13). In London, Tom Sutcliffe writes where Boyle's opening show “had been a statement of intent and national values, this was an hour-long advert for British stadium rock-show design” (London INDEPENDENT, 8/13).

    THE ODD SQUAD: In L.A., Robert Lloyd writes if the Closing Ceremony “lacked the energy and audaciousness and personal touch that Boyle brought to the opening,” it had its “odd moments of oddity, including Russell Brand emerging from a psychedelic bus to sing, or appear to sing, ‘I Am the Walrus.’" The bus then morphed into a "giant octopus" with Fatboy Slim at its center (L.A. TIMES, 8/13). Also in L.A., Randall Roberts writes the “famous British supermodels vogueing and strutting to David Bowie's indictment of the fashion world, ‘Fashion,’ was equally odd” (L.A. TIMES, 8/13). ESPN.com’s Jim Caple wrote 71-year-old equestrian rider Hiroshi Hoketsu “first competed at the 1964 Olympic and may have been the only athlete who can actually remember when the music played at the closing ceremonies was popular.” Caple: “I mean, John Lennon and ‘Imagine’ are timeless, but Annie Lennox and the Pet Shop Boys? Or Russell Brand lip-synching to ‘I Am the Walrus?’” (ESPN.com, 8/12).

    NOTABLE ABSENCES: In London, Bernadette McNulty writes there were “some clear flaws: the obvious absence of top-drawer stars like Kate Bush and David Bowie and ELO glaring when their music was used.” The psychedelic section “with Ed Sheeran playing Pink Floyd and Russell Brand doing a karaoke Beatles was too slow and Liam Gallagher was nasal and off key.” McNulty: “The whole affair didn’t feel whittled down but rather way too long. If anything, the Closing Ceremony was not uplifting or cheesy enough apart from the Spice Girls who got the exuberant tone exactly right” (London TELEGRAPH, 8/13). The AP’s Jill Lawless notes viewers “heard the voices and songs of the departed" with Queen's Freddie Mercury singing "Bohemian Rhapsody" and Liverpool choirs performing Lennon's "Imagine." But there were “some notable absences,” including David Bowie, the Rolling Stones and Elton John (AP, 8/13). In Toronto, Thane Burnett writes, “Perhaps it's just hard to get excited about a reception at the Hilton when the wedding took place at the Vatican” (TORONTO SUN, 8/13). In London, Sarah Crompton writes the London Games were “beautiful and inspiring, full of laughter and tears, reverent of the past but hopeful of the future.” London 2012 has “been an event that has made most people want to dance.” Although the Closing Ceremony “didn’t quite live up to expectation, lots of people dancing around can’t possibly be the worst way to end it” (London TELEGRAPH, 8/13).

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  • London Games Described As A Triumph For The City, An "Explosion Of Goodwill"

    Rogge was "very happy and grateful" of London as a host city for the Games

    IOC President Jacques Rogge yesterday said the London Games were “absolutely fabulous,” according to Ashling O'Connor of the LONDON TIMES. Rogge declined to compare London with previous host cities, but he said he was “a very happy and grateful man." Rogge: "These Games were a great Games definitely. ... The Games were absolutely fabulous." Rogge’s remarks “topped off a day of back-slapping that reverberated" around London. U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron said, “We showed the world what we are made of.” LOCOG Chair Sebastian Coe: “We lit the flame and lit up the world. ... We know more now, as individuals and as a nation, just what we are capable of.” Asked about his defining moment, Coe said, “The British people day after day have filled our stadiums and turned them into theatres of sport” (LONDON TIMES, 8/12). London Mayor Boris Johnson in a special to the London TELEGRAPH writes, “London has put on a dazzling face to the global audience” (London TELEGRAPH, 8/13). Rogge added, "London has absolutely refreshed the Games in many aspects. These were athletes' Games, the Athlete's Village was fantastic, the venues were state of the art and well run, you had a fantastic public." He said that there were "minor" issues to be ironed out, including ticketing. Rogge: "We are definitely going to review the ticketing policy of the Games. The sale of tickets is a very complicated issue, you need a balance between the home public and the rest of the world" (GUARDIAN, 8/12).

    APPRECIATION OF COE: In London, Alan Hubbard wrote Coe "will have fashioned an astonishing Games, one of the most successful ever, and unquestionably the finest episode in British sporting history." He has done so with "professionalism and panache, and the result, so far, has been beyond anyone's wildest dreams, including, he admits, his own" (London INDEPENDENT, 8/12). Also in London, Joe Churcher noted Coe will continue his involvement with the Olympics as Cameron's "Legacy Ambassador." Coe will now advise Cameron on the "best ways to secure long-term benefits for the U.K. and act as a roving ambassador to help secure deals for British firms." Coe will also be responsible for ensuring "efforts to boost sporting, volunteering and regeneration effects" remain on track (London INDEPENDENT, 8/12).

    DOPE-FREE GAMES: The AP's Graham Dunbar wrote, "Even before the flame was out, Rogge said efforts to fight doping at the Olympics were a success." Only one athlete tested positive for a banned substance on the day of competing at the London Games. Seven more were "caught in doping controls" conducted since the official testing period for the Games began on July 16. Rogge: "I think that is a sign that the system works.” He also cautioned that "some samples are still being analyzed." Rogge said, "We might hear something tomorrow or the day after. Hopefully not, but you never know" (AP, 8/12).

    FROM LONDON, ALL CHEERS
    : In London, Paul Hayward writes, “The Games will be remembered as a triumph for warmth, civility, excellence and enthusiasm -- hosted by a nation in love with sport, and happy in its own skin” (London TELEGRAPH, 8/13). Also in London, Simon Barnes writes, “Looks like we got away with it. ... London got it right” (LONDON TIMES, 8/13). The London INDEPENDENT’s James Lawton: “These were the Games you couldn’t fail to love. The Games that seduced cold-headed calculation of cost and reward with their sheer vitality. The Games that took on astonishing life” (London INDEPENDENT, 8/13). The GUARDIAN’S Richard Williams writes the Games “began with an explosion of goodwill and never lost its capacity to charm and to amaze“ (GUARDIAN, 8/13). A London TELEGRAPH editorial stated, “The Olympics did not dominate London: London dominated the Olympics. … This was an event about the people, not the VIPs” (London TELEGRAPH, 8/11). A London INDEPENDENT editorial states, “Hosting the Olympics has boosted national morale more than any single event in most people’s living memory. The capital and country have been transformed” (London INDEPENDENT, 8/13).

    MAKING IT LOOK SMOOTH: The WALL STREET JOURNAL’s Orwall & Bryan-Low write LOCOG is winning “strong reviews for a smooth running, well-executed 17-day event that avoided all the feared problems.” Yesterday it “seemed as if London didn’t want the games to end” (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 8/13). In N.Y., Sarah Lyall wrote, “To the shock and then relief of a nation used to large events going awry, the Olympics instead went smoothly” (NYTIMES.com, 8/12). The FINANCIAL TIMES’ Simon Kapur writes, “Throwing a party costs money. You do it not for profits but for happiness. Even in strapped times, that might be worth” the cost (FINANCIAL TIMES, 8/13). In Toronto, Steve Simmons writes under the header, “London Games Rank Among Best,” and adds, “The brilliance of the London Games was not all about sport. It was about putting the country on display and they managed that perfectly” (TORONTO SUN, 8/13). Also in Toronto, Cathal Kelly: “London succeeded in its primary Olympic missions -- first, keep the city undetonated and second, having a good time” (TORONTO STAR, 8/13). The AP’s Stephen Wilson wrote, “Take a victory lap, London. The nightmare that was supposed to be the 2012 Olympics … simply never materialized” (AP, 8/12). In Boston, John Powers: “On the whole, these Games were a smashing success” (BOSTON GLOBE, 8/13).

    GOOD JOB, GOOD EFFORT: In N.Y., Filip Bondy writes London was “rightfully congratulating itself for hosting a Summer Games that avoided any sort of disaster and left very little Olympic litter behind." Bondy: "A good time was had by most” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 8/13). In Chicago, Rick Morrisey: “In London, I saw a city full of people who normally keep to themselves come together for a common goal. There’s currency in that, even if the Olympics are an economic risk” (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 8/13). In Pittsburgh, J. Brady McCollough writes under the header, “London Fell In Love With Olympics” (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 8/13). SI.com’s Jon Wertheim writes, “The operative word of these Games was epic. ... The hosts did a well, epic job. ... There was an unmistakable sense that this was the feel good movie of the summer, big-budget as it may have been” (SI.com, 8/13). In Ft. Worth, Gil Lebreton: “London proved over this fortnight, it takes a special city -- one of the world’s great cities -- to be a memorable Olympic host. The Games, I would suggest, have never been welcomed any better” (Ft. Worth STAR-TELEGRAM, 8/13). In Memphis, Geoff Calkins: “These really were happy and glorious games” (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 8/13). In Miami, Linda Robertston: “The Games were a smashing success for the home team” (MIAMI HERALD, 8/13). In Sunday’s N.Y. TIMES’ Week In Review section, Frank Bruni wrote, “For all their flaws and frustrations, [the Games] have been a phenomenal spectacle. More than that, they’ve been a phenomenal inspiration, in precisely the ways that they were supposed to be, during a season when we needed the uplift” (N.Y. TIMES, 8/12).

    NOT SO SURE: The FINANCIAL TIMES’ Matthew Engel wrote the Games’ “global legacy will be a little fuzzy,” as the athletic performances “seem to have made little impact on the audience at home or abroad” (FINANCIAL TIMES, 8/11). In Las Vegas, Ed Graney writes while the Games were good, “there were no iconic moments, no snapshots by which to truly define the legacy of these games” (LAS VEGAS REVIEW JOURNAL, 8/13).

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  • Your Time Is Now: Sochi, Rio In The Olympic Spotlight As Both Face Issues

    Chernyshenko said Sochi "is building a new city with more than 100,000 hotel beds"

    The ’14 Sochi Games are now on the clock, and there is a “massive project underway to build a resort city on the Black Sea almost from scratch and with it the center of the universe for sports played on ice and snow,” according to Christine Brennan of USA TODAY. SOCOG President & CEO Dmitry Chernyshenko said, "We are building an Olympic structure in the middle of nowhere. It's like a painter with a blank canvas painting a masterpiece. We are building a new city with more than 100,000 hotel beds.” Chernyshenko said that organizers are “dealing with economic conditions as best as they can.” He said, "Our deadlines for our commitments are strong. We did not panic. The companies we are working with have the confidence that the country is backing them. Everything is coming along fine." Brennan notes construction is “almost complete,” and officials have indicated that “all of the ‘mountain cluster’ venues held pre-Olympic test events during the last winter sports season.” All the other venues -- the "coastal cluster" -- will be “tested by the end of 2012.” The only venue to be completed in ‘13 is “the stadium that will host the opening and closing ceremonies” (USA TODAY, 8/13). The AP’s Laura Mills noted “every competition venue has had to be built from scratch,” and the cost “is staggering.” Russia President Vladimir Putin said that $30B “will be spent developing the region, including the cost of the games.” Although many have “complained that the central stadium and hotels are behind schedule,” IOC officials “overall have praised Russia’s ability to meet the challenges.” But despite the “breakneck pace of construction, critics question whether the city can build an entire Olympic complex and the infrastructure it requires from scratch without doing too much harm” (AP, 8/10). SI.com’s S.L. Price noted every "variation of Russian pride, prejudice, joy and fear promises to be on loud display for the next 18 months, and the Games' short vacation from political and cultural tension figures to be over.” Putin's “hardline rule -- not to mention his bare-chested support of the Sochi Games -- is sure to have Olympic critics back on high alert” (SI.com, 8/12).

    TAKING THE PROJECT UNDER HIS WING: Chernyshenko said Putin “considers this project his baby.” The WALL STREET JOURNAL’s Sonne & Boudreaux write, “So close is Putin’s involvement that shortly after London’s opening ceremony, he told a Russian news agency that he’s familiar with the preliminary plan for Sochi’s opening show and hopes the event will be ‘no less beautiful.’” Still, there are many challenges for Sochi, including a “weakened Russian Olympic team that could embarrass the country at home, and the threat of terrorist attacks that have rocked Russia for over a decade.” The budget for the Sochi Games “is massive, some $18 billion.” Chernyshenko said that the organizing committee “will make a profit.” Security is “perhaps the most serious test,” as Sochi is “a few hundred miles from Chechnya, Kabardino-Balkaria and North Ossetia, republics in southern Russia’s Caucasus region that have faced violence for years.” Chernyshenko said that Russian security forces “are planning to reinforce natural protections provided by the mountains and sea” (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 8/13). NBC News' Jim Maceda said, No one believes that Sochi won’t be ready to offer the world a knockout Winter Games. As one Olympic official put it, ‘It’s a no-fail mission.’ But there are real concerns: Sochi is just 300 miles from Chechnya and its unstable pockets of Islamist militants” (“Nightly News,” NBC, 8/12). The WALL STREET JOURNAL’s Richard Boudreaux notes Russia's leaders “are counting on the 2014 Winter Games to boost national pride and international prestige.” But the “multi-billion-dollar effort is straining the host city's resources, environment and nerves.” Russian Olympic Committee President Alexander Zhukov acknowledged the preparations have caused "some dissatisfaction." But he added, "If you come to the park in Sochi and see how the Olympic venues look -- how the infrastructure looks, the trains, new roads, bridges -- you'll say that these games are a big plus for Sochi" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 8/13).

    RINGS AROUND RIO: The AP’s Janie McCauley writes London’s show “will prove a tough act to follow,” but the ’16 Rio de Janiero Games “will be looking to dazzle the world with its beaches and breathtaking views while dealing with the daunting challenge of getting a city ready for the world's most sweeping sports event” (AP, 8/13). REUTERS’ John Mehaffey writes if Rio “delivers, the Games could then conceivably go to Africa, the final continent for the Olympic movement.” IOC Marketing Commission Chair Gerhard Heiberg said, "Rio is an experiment. It is new. They have never had such a big event in the whole of South America. They have to do a lot on the infrastructure side.” He added, "Hopefully it will go well, we think it will go well. If that is successful, I think the opening for going to Africa will be even bigger because you prove that in a developing nation it is possible. Why not 2024?" (REUTERS, 8/13). IOC officials yesterday said that ’16 Rio organizers “must finalize their budget as soon as possible.” REUTERS’ Karolos Grohmann noted Rio has “yet to announce a budget for the Games in four years time and there has been growing concern organizers were not proceeding as fast as the IOC would like.” IOC President Jacques Rogge said, "We are asking for the budget to be finalized as soon as possible. We are working together in the establishment of the budget" (REUTERS, 8/12).

    FUTURE BIDS: In Toronto, Lesley Ciarula Taylor reported City Council member James Pasternak's “idea for the first binational Olympic Games in Toronto and Buffalo is gaining steam.” Pasternak “floated the idea in an interview about how Toronto could possibly afford to host an Olympics when the current London Games are costing $15 billion.” Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown on Friday said, “With the closeness of our two nations, it potentially raises the opportunity.” But Taylor wrote, “Flattered as he is, Brown laughed long and hard at the idea of splitting the cost of the 2024 Games with Toronto.” Brown: “Believe me, if I had $7.5 billion to spend, I would spend it all in Buffalo and not spend it to bring an Olympics” (TORONTO STAR, 8/11)....In Denver, John Meyer reports the USOC is “studying whether to bid for the 2024 Summer Games or the 2026 Winter Games.” A report is “due to the USOC board in December.” Denver Sports Dir Sue Baldwin said, "Our interest in pursuing a Winter Olympic bid remains high, and we will re-evaluate after the USOC finishes their process at the end of the year" (DENVER POST, 8/13).

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  • London Marks Rogge's Final Games, And He Is Leaving The IOC In Good Shape Financially

    The London Games mark the last Olympics IOC President Jacques Rogge will preside over, and he leaves his successor with the “twin challenges of competing with professional leagues for the attention of youth and figuring out how to tap the Internet to bolster the IOC’s TV-reliant business model,” according to Fowler & Futterman of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. Rogge's decade-long reign "weathered near-calamity in Athens and political firestorm in Beijing.” He used his “steady hand and reserved voice to transform the business into what might be considered a blue-chip multinational, delivering [a] consistent and profitable spectacle.” Rogge leaves the IOC “with cash in its coffers, and major broadcast rights -- which make up 75% of the organization’s budget -- signed through 2020.” He brought “transparency to an organization that had been susceptible to bribery" under predecessor Juan Antonio Samaranch. He has “emphasized knowledge transfer from one host to the next; teams from London will be meeting with organizers from Rio de Janeiro in the fall.” Fowler & Futterman note Rogge also “held firm on a long-running dispute with the U.S. Olympic Committee over that country's share of sponsorship and broadcast revenues, reaching a deal that will reduce the U.S. share in the coming years.” Candidates to replace Rogge in ‘13 “won't declare themselves until next year” (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 8/13).

    LAST ADDRESS: Rogge addressed the crowd at last night's Closing Ceremony and said, "The organizing committee was supported by the public authorities and did a superb job. Thank you Lord Coe and your great local team. We will never forget the smiles, the kindness and the support of the wonderful volunteers, the much needed heroes of these Games. You, the spectators and the public, provided a soundtrack for these Games. Your enthusiastic cheers energized the competitors and brought a festive spirit to every Olympic venue. You have shown the world the best of British hospitality. I know that generosity of spirit will continue as we marvel at the dedication and talent of the wonderful Paralympic athletes" (NBC, 8/12).

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  • London Games Prove A Huge Success For U.S. Athletes, USOC

    The men's basketball Gold Medal is among 104 total medals won by the U.S.

    The London Games featured a "dominant display by the Americans," as Team USA won the overall medal count for the fifth straight Summer Olympics and "reclaimed the gold medal count" from China, according to Kate Hairopoulos of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS. The U.S. ended up with 104 total medals and 46 Golds, and USOC Chair Larry Probst said, "The American public has high expectations for our Olympic team. There was a lot of opinion about where we would finish. ... We are extremely proud of what our athletes accomplished. We like to come in first, and there’s nothing wrong with that” (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 8/13). In Newark, Steve Politi wrote, "The areas of success were no surprise: The USOC expected to win 25 to 30 medals in swimming (the final tally was 31) and 25 in track and field (a very impressive 29)." U.S. Gold Medal-winning wrestler Jordan Burroughs said, "I saw that in 2008, China beat us in the medal race. I wanted to be a guy that can help us out." Overall, USOC officials "spoke glowingly of the experience in London and the hope to replicate that across the Atlantic." The earliest a U.S. city could host the Summer Olympics is '24 or '28, and Probst said that the USOC "would work to identify candidates to host the Olympics in the future" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 8/12).

    WHAT'S GOOD FOR THE GOOSE...: In Phoenix, Dan Bickley wrote, "From the pool to the track to the soccer stadium and back, the great showings from U.S. athletes have created strong momentum." While Americans "might forget about the Olympics in the coming weeks, the U.S. Olympic Committee has a great chance to move this triumph forward and recruit more sponsors." USOC CEO Scott Blackmun: "We had 25 to 30 athletes that finished fourth, just off the podium. Those stories as well as the great stories of the people on the podium resonate with people. They resonate with people who buy the products of our sponsors. They resonate with people who watch NBC's great broadcast. So it's definitely a factor." Bickley wrote, "More importantly, the 2012 Games should spark a groundswell of interest among young American athletes" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 8/12).

    NO SHAME IN THEIR GAME: In DC, Mike Wise wrote the U.S. "shouldn’t apologize for cleaning up at the podium in these Games and blowing by China in the medal totals the past few days." But neither do U.S. athletes nor the USOC "brass here have to gloat in a way that comes across as, 'We’re American Exceptionalists, take it or leave it, jack.'" Probst said, "This is a competition. And I think it’s absolutely great that we’re leading in the medal count, both on golds and in total medals -- the last time we won both was in Athens.” He added, “I like to hear the ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ a lot” (WASHINGTON POST, 8/12). NBCSPORTS.com's Alan Abrahamson wrote the London Games were "arguably the best-ever," and reviews of the Games "will be especially good" in the U.S. (NBCSPORTS.com, 8/12). 

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  • U.S. Men's Basketball Team Seen As Ambassador Of Sport After Gold Medal Win

    Team USA displayed "class and sportsmanship" during their Gold Medal run

    The U.S. defeated Spain 107-100 in the men's basketball Gold Medal game yesterday, and members of the U.S. team served as "perfect ambassadors for the sport” during the two-week tournament, according to Filip Bondy of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS. The players celebrated “joyfully, not boastfully,” and over the years they have learned “how to perform and behave under this sort of spotlight” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 8/13). In N.Y., Mike Vaccaro writes the Americans are “ambassadors again, and for all the right reasons.” Some people “may want to find reasons to dislike the idea of pros in the Olympics, but they make it very hard because they are very good.” They “exude class and sportsmanship” (N.Y. POST, 8/13). In New Jersey, Steve Popper writes there were players on the team “with tainted reputations who showed nothing but selflessness” (Bergen RECORD, 8/13). In DC, Barry Svrluga writes the group of players from the NBA, “a league that is often criticized for an emphasis on individualism over team play, became a fun-loving, ball-sharing team” (WASHINGTON POST, 8/13). In Tampa, Gary Shelton writes the “joy seemed real, and the competition seemed authentic and the victory seemed worth celebrating.” The players “care more than you think, and they play harder, and they have invested more time” (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 8/13). In Houston, Buck Harvey writes what the players did “was happily attend other Olympic events, meet all obligations with the media, and win every game with respect for the sport and their opponents.” Harvey: “The rebranding of USA Basketball is complete” (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 8/13). In Boston, Bob Ryan writes under the header, “Thanks To Jerry Colangelo, US All The Way Back In Basketball” (BOSTON GLOBE, 8/13).

    AGE LIMIT TALKS: FIBA Secretary General Patrick Baumann said that FIBA and the NBA “are having ongoing discussions" regarding a potential age limit for the Olympic basketball tournament, and he "wants to do whatever is best to continue the worldwide growth of basketball while also being respectful of team owners' concerns about the wear and tear their players face when playing for their national teams.” Baumann said it is "probably premature to make any changes to the Olympic program." The AP’s Brian Mahoney noted “any potential rules changes for the Olympics have to be proposed this year.” (AP, 8/11). Baumann: “My feeling is that we will not be proposing a 23 age limit for the 2016 Olympic Games. ... From FIBA's perspective, we understand the perspective from USA Basketball and the NBA. I'm not sure (we) necessarily have the same idea, but we understand the owners' concerns” (ESPN.com, 8/11). In DC, Svrluga & Maese wrote USOC Chair Larry Probst was asked Saturday “about basketball’s future at the Games.” But he could “only offer a personal opinion, because the decision will ultimately be made by NBA and IBF officials -- not those directly involved in the Olympic movement.” Probst said, “I personally would like to see the best players in the world. And if they happen to be 35 or 37 or 27 or 19, I’d like to see us field the very best team that we could put on the court” (WASHINGTON POST, 8/11). Baumann said that one change FIBA will push for is “expanding the tournament from 12 to 16 teams, with the number of pool-play games reduced to shorten the length of the tournament.” Baumann also said that the “possibility of extending the 3-point line to match it with the NBA’s 3-point line was being considered” (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 8/11).

    TO END OR NOT TO END? FOXSPORTS.com’s Jen Floyd Engel wrote under the header, “Ending Dream Team Era Makes No Sense.” The players on this team, “even those for whom instituting an age limit will have no effect, seem genuinely disappointed that the Dream Team era may be ending.” U.S. G Kobe Bryant said, “It would be a shame. At the Olympics … you really want to send your best out there to mingle with the other athletes who are the best” (FOXSPORTS.com, 8/10). In Las Vegas, Ed Graney writes FIBA “shot down the under-23 idea for now.” But when the NBA and Commissioner David Stern “want something, they keep after it.” Graney: “Let’s hope they never succeed. Games such as the one Sunday are an example of the level of basketball an Olympics can produce when the biggest stars compete” (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 8/13). The Miami Herald's Israel Gutierrez said of Stern, "It’s nonsense him trying to bully the rest of the world into doing this. ... You look at the ’92 team. That team did more to globalize basketball than any other team ever, and people are still intrigued by this.” ESPN's Jemele Hill said, "When you see these global stars playing together, playing team basketball, being committed -- it’s a good image for the NBA” (“The Sports Reporters,” ESPN, 8/12). CBSSPORTS.com’s Ken Berger wrote, “This is how the era of NBA stars at the Olympics should end. Right here, right now.” This team “left nothing -- absolutely nothing -- to prove about what a thrilling success these 20 years have been” (CBSSPORTS.com, 8/12).

    LEBRON SPEAKS OUT: USA Basketball Chair Jerry Colangelo said Saturday that Fs LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony “would be two of the three players he would likely invite to continue playing in the Olympics if such an age limit were established.” But James said that he “would not play in future Olympic Games if the NBA establishes a 23-year-old age limit for future competitions.” James said, “If the 23 rule goes in, I’m not playing. … If the rule doesn’t go in, I don’t know. Then it’s an I don’t know thing, and that means there’s a chance. But there’s no chance if the 23 rule goes in” (NBA.com, 8/11).

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  • NBC Boxing Announcers Asked To Leave Ringside; Sport's Ratings Down On CNBC

    Atlas (l) and Papa have been openly critical of international boxing rules and scoring

    NBC Sports broadcasted the final two days of the Olympic boxing tournament "without announcers Bob Papa and Teddy Atlas in the arena following a dispute with international boxing officials," according to David Bauder of the AP. AIBA PR & Communications Dir Sebastien Gillot said that the Int'l Boxing Association "asked Papa and Atlas to move from their seats close to ringside to a broadcast booth farther away because they were 'very disturbing' to boxing officials, even during bouts they were not calling." It is "not clear why Papa and Atlas, who have at times been critical of the boxing judges and referees during the tournament, were suddenly judged too disturbing with only two days of boxing remaining." The NBC announcers called the remaining 10 boxing matches "off video piped into the International Broadcast Center in London." NBC's Russ Thaler did remain "in the ExCel center in London for the concluding fights." Bauder noted Papa and Atlas "have been critical of how international boxing rules, including the requirement of headgear for boxers and a point system based strictly on how many punches land, have turned the Olympic matches into 'fencing with gloves'" (AP, 8/10).

    COMING UP EMPTY HANDED: The AP's Tim Reynolds noted the USOC is "so disappointed by its medal-less men's boxing team that it will make changes to the sport's national governing body." USOC CEO Scott Blackmun "offered no specifics Saturday, although it's clear far more is expected from U.S. fighters, who left the Olympics empty handed for the first time in team history." Blackmun said, "We're disappointed in boxing. We want to do better, particularly in men's boxing. By saying disappointed in boxing, I don't mean the people. I mean, we're disappointed that we didn't do better in boxing, because I know that we can do better and we have to focus on how we do that" (AP, 8/11). In San Antonio, John Whisler wrote since '76, when "American boxers won five gold medal in Montreal, the U.S. program has slowly faded into oblivion." American men "won their first four bouts on the opening weekend in London, but never again left the ring with their arms raised" (SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS, 8/12). In Boston, Ron Borges wrote USA Boxing "has long been a joke." Now it "has become a laughingstock as well." Former USA Boxing BOD member Al Valenti said, "The performance in London only reflects how poorly managed the organization has been the past four years. They've been unsuccessful hiring executive directors, national coaches or recognizing talent that can compete at the international level. We're broken at the top" (BOSTON HERALD, 8/12).

    BOXED OUT: The AP's Bauder notes NBC Sports confined its boxing coverage to CNBC, and if fans "don't actively seek it out, you won't see a punch thrown." In a year where Olympic ratings "were up from four years ago across the board, they were down on CNBC." Papa said that the "poor performance of the U.S. team no doubt stifled viewership, and its officials need to take a hard look at how they're doing things." Even if there "were strong American contenders, the sport is becoming hard to watch." Papa "partly blames decisions to require boxers to wear headgear and score bouts via a computerized count of punches thrown for the sport's downfall." He said that computerized scoring, and "corrupt officials, has led to miscarriages of justice in the boxing result." Papa said that "given what is going on with the sport, he can't rightly complain about its lower profile as a TV property in the Olympics" (AP, 8/13).

    Print | Tags: Olympics, Boxing, NBC
  • Team GB Gear, Specifically Soccer Uniforms, Boosting Retail Sales

    Team GB kits are currently the highest selling licensed clothing in the U.K.

    Sales of Team Great Britain’s soccer uniforms have helped to "boost retailers during the second week of the Olympics despite initial fears that the Games were affecting footfall in Britain’s high streets and shopping centres," according to Graham Ruddick of the London TELEGRAPH. Department store group John Lewis said that sales over the past week are up 22.4% "compared to the same period last year thanks to the warm weather and 'feel-good factor'" of Team GB’s Gold Medal performances. adidas, which produces the Great Britain and London Games sportswear, said it is seeing “unprecedented demand.” The company said that the Team GB kit is now "the biggest selling licensed clothing range in the U.K." (London TELEGRAPH, 8/11). The WALL STREET JOURNAL’s Bryan-Low & Helliker noted if Olympic organizers are going to reach the stated goal of raising US$125.4M "from merchandising royalties, licensees will have to sell” about US$1.6B of gear. The IOC said the goal "was on track,” but officials declined to offer more sales figures until the completion of the Paralympic Games. The Olympic-wear aisles of the Sports Direct store on London’s Oxford Street “were packed Friday evening.” Everything “Team GB” was “marked down and quickly filling" shoppers' bags while a "large selection of Polska Team warm-ups drew no interest despite an 80% markdown.” Also “seemingly unwanted: stakes of Team Australia merchandise” (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 8/11).

    OTHER BUSINESS PERKS: The WALL STREET JOURNAL’s Evans & Zekaria noted while the Olympic Games “proved a damp squib for many London businesses, the capital's upmarket retailers have cashed in at the tills.” Retail analysts said that “well-heeled tourists have flocked to expensive shopping districts and big department stores in London's West End between trips to venues.” Lewis said that his retailing company “enjoyed 12% sales growth at its flagship Oxford Street store for the week to Aug. 4 compared with the same week a year earlier.” London’s West End theaters said that they had “reaped some benefits after a downbeat start.” Society of London Theater CEO Julian Bird said, "The week leading up to the Olympics was very quiet, but theaters have bounced back since, as people have realized that the transport system was robust. On-the-day ticket sales have been growing every day." Evans & Zekaria note a “clearer picture will emerge when the Confederation of British Industry releases retail sales data for July on Aug. 16 and for August on Sept. 20” (WSJ.com, 8/12).

    SPONSORSHIP ACTIVATION REVIEW: In N.Y., David Segal reviewed the various sponsor pavilions in Olympic Park, and he gave IOC TOP sponsor Coca-Cola "points for architectural originality" in its use of the Coca-Cola Beat Box. Segal wrote, "Coke gets credit for not turning the entire production into one extended ad. But the future flames, and Coke's executives, clearly think this elaborate production is far more fun that it is." At the pavilion built by IOC TOP sponsor Acer, "the line between children's theater and performance art for stoners is explored." But Acer "gets points for effort, which more than can be said for Samsung." Segal wrote of Samsung, "Highly skippable." IOC TOP sponsor Panasonic has the "best of the pavilions," as its show has "the highest Olympics-related content, and the event footage is extraordinary." IOC TOP sponsor BP has the "highest degree of difficulty of the sponors." Segal: "How does a company tied to one of history's most infamous oil spills package itself for the public? With staggering chutzpah. ... It's hard to know what BP should have done with its pavilion. Handed out gulf shrimp? Begged our Pardon? Let's put it this way: Anything would have been better than what it delivered" (N.Y. TIMES, 8/12).

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  • Nike Wastes No Time Launching Ad Campaign In Britain To Congratulate Mo Farah

    Nike’s “last stab at ambushing” the London Games involves a new ad campaign “celebrating Mo Farah’s remarkable double Olympic gold medal winning performance,” according to Mark Sweney of the GUARDIAN. A new outdoor ad campaign is set to “run on digital screens across London” that features the “lower half of a distance runner … and the strapline ‘Twice the Guts. Double the Glory.’” The athlete is “not thought to be Farah himself.” The ad will run “across digital billboards and poster sites that the footwear and clothing brand has been using to run its ‘Everyday athletes’ campaign.” Farah became just the seventh man in history to win the men’s 5,000 meters and 10,000 meters at the same Olympics (GUARDIAN.co.uk, 8/13).

    STANDING OUT IN A CROWD: NBC NEWS' Bill Briggs wrote marketing experts are "awarding a gold medal in ambush marketing to Nike, which scored with bold commercials, smart PR moves and its distinctive, ubiquitous neon-yellow Volt shoes." N.Y.-based Carbone Smolan Agency co-Founder Leslie Smolan said, "I thought Nike's approach was absolutely brilliant. Nike managed to integrate themselves into the games -- the best way to show your product, not just talk about it." LOCOG "considered legal action against Nike before dumping the idea." The IOC said that Olympians "can wear whatever shoes they feel offer them a crack at the podium." Nike said that as of Friday, 41 athletes "had medaled wearing Volt shoes, including 43 percent of track and field medalists" (NBCNEWS.com, 8/12). Univ. of Windsor Sport & Olympic History Professor Scott Martyn said, "You have to say that the (marketing) value for money is fantastic, that they've done exceedingly well given the relative investment and they've capitalized on it quite significantly" (TORONTO STAR, 8/11).

    WHAT PRICE GREATNESS? ESPN’s Michael Wilbon noted U.S. women’s soccer team has "really been getting popped around the world" for wearing Nike T-shirts containing the phrase "Greatness Has Been Found” after defeating Japan to win the Gold Medal on Thursday. Wilbon said, "It's a Nike ad, ‘Find your greatness,’ that has touched off wearing those shirts and I guess ‘finding your greatness’ speaks to really finding little things to motivate yourself and finding greatness within oneself. But that’s not how it’s being taken. Perception can be reality.” ESPN’s Dan Le Batard said, “Nobody likes arrogance. They want the humble winner. This is not a lot of humility here.” Wilbon added, “This team is not real humble.” Le Batard: “It’s not very creative and it’s not humble at all” (“PTI,” ESPN, 8/10).

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  • Olympic Names: Politicians Praise London's Hosting Of Games

    David Cameron said Great Britain "delivered" as host for the London Games

    In London, Jamie McGinnes noted PRESIDENT OBAMA called U.K. Prime Minister DAVID CAMERON last night “to offer his congratulations for a ‘brilliant’ London Olympics.” Cameron “offered the UK’s congratulations on the US team’s ‘astounding’ medals table-topping performance and said Britain had ‘thoroughly enjoyed’ hosting its athletes” (THESUNDAYTIMES.co.uk, 8/12). Meanwhile, the GUARDIAN’s Alexandra Topping notes politicians have “lined up to declare the London 2012 Olympics a rousing success.” Cameron said Britain had "delivered;" London Mayor BORIS JOHNSON declared London had demonstrated it was the "capital of the world;" while former U.K. Prime Minister TONY BLAIR called it a "spectacular success" (GUARDIAN, 8/13).

    ECONOMIC CRISIS TAKING ITS TOLL: The WALL STREET JOURNAL’s Orwall, Enrich, Sonne & Kowsmann reported the economic crisis “hitting Europe’s most troubled nations hasn’t spared their Olympic performance.” Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain were “likely to leave London with fewer medals than in 2008 and face dimmer prospects as funding cuts bite hard on the road to 2016.” The road “will get more difficult.” As governments “cut sports budgets, they are expected to compete in fewer sports and focus funding on elite athletes in the sports that remain.” Private money will “get harder to raise as economies sour further” (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 8/11).

    WRITING ABOUT THE RINGS: In N.Y., Mary Pilon profiled Around The Rings publishers ED and SHEILA HULA and wrote for over 20 years, the Hulas have “carved out a niche as full-time chroniclers of the business side of the Games, in the process becoming an influential power couple in the relatively small but moneyed world of the Olympics.” Their coverage is “must-read material for Olympic officials, marketers, consultants, politicians and anyone else involved with the Games or the pursuit of a future bid.” Ed Hula said, “The IOC members say they hear stuff about the IOC on our site before they hear it from the IOC. That’s the way I like it.” The Hulas said that their site “gets more than 200,000 unique visitors a month,” and traffic “spiked in July 2011 when the IOC voted for the host city for the 2018 Winter Games” (N.Y. TIMES, 8/12).

    OLYMPIC AWARD: The IOC awarded NBA Commissioner DAVID STERN the Olympic Order, noting he was the key figure in working towards the participation of professional basketball players in the Olympics, including those of the NBA (NBA).

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  • Medal Stand: LOCOG Deserves A Standing Ovation For Delivering A Fine Olympics

    Each day during the Summer Games, THE DAILY offers our take on the business performances of some of the people, sponsors, broadcasters and other entities around London.

     

    GOLD: LONDON ORGANIZERS -- What a testament these Games were to LOCOG and its leaders, Sebastian Coe and Paul Deighton. They chose not to be Beijing, to give these Games their own personality and flair. Along the way, they paid attention to every detail while still managing not to smother the London Games in bureaucracy and political correctness. From the well-designed layout of venues, to the Opening and Closing ceremonies, to fixing security issues on the fly, to always maintaining a healthy dose of British humor, they delivered a fantastic Olympics.

    SILVER: NBC -- What else can be said about NBC Sports and its performance these past 17 days? From the best non-U.S. Olympic ratings in decades to ad sales records to offering every minute of every Olympic event live, albeit with a few glitches along the way, NBC performed brilliantly during the London Games.

     

    BRONZE: TEAM USA -- Everyone said this was China's year to win the medal count, yet when the final tally was in, Team USA had delivered one of its finest performances in history. The U.S. won 104 medals overall, 46 of them gold, to China's 88 medals and 38 Golds. The USOC, its NGBs and all of the athletes and coaches should be commended.

    TIN: THE NAYSAYERS -- For all those who said no one could follow Beijing, who said London was too big of a city to host the Games and that security would be a nightmare and traffic disastrous, to the ones who said tape-delayed coverage cannot possibly work in this day and age and that online coverage would cannibalize all media, to even those who said China was poised to take over the medal count and Team USA and Team GB would spend these past 17 days on their heels -- to all of the naysayers everywhere, we are happy to say you were wrong.

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