SBD/December 5, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Can You Tell Me How To Get To Sochi? USOC Teams Up With "Sesame Street"

The USOC today announced that it has partnered with nonprofit educational organization Sesame Workshop to be an official affiliate of Team USA through the '14 Sochi Games as well as the Paralympic Games. The joint venture will include online content featuring characters from "Sesame Street" and Team USA athletes, a "Sesame Street" family pavilion at all USOC Road to Sochi tour stops and "Sesame Street" Winter Games-themed children's apparel available at retail stores and online. A portion of all sales proceeds will support U.S. Olympic and Paralympic athletes and hopefuls (USOC). FORBES.com's Darren Heitner notes the 13-stop USOC Road to Sochi tour "will feature a co-branded interactive family tent, and a costumed character Elmo will make special appearances at select stops." This is "certainly a non-traditional partnership for both entities." The USOC "typically partners with worldwide brands that traverse demographics," while Sesame Workshop "has a flurry of partnerships, but nothing related to sport." While Sesame Workshop's partnership is with Team USA, figure skater Evan Lysacek will appear in a "Sesame Street" episode that will air in February. Blending in a partnership "with a non-traditional entity like Sesame Workshop may be a challenge for the USOC." However, the committee has "already conducted necessary due diligence to make sure that the new relationship does not interfere with existing bonds." USOC Managing Dir of Consumer Products & Licensing Peter Zeytoonjian: "We’ve shared this idea with our current partners, and the response has been universally positive. ... We believe our brands will absolutely complement one another" (FORBES.com, 12/5).
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