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SBD Global/June 25, 2012/Olympics

Coe Defends Fast Food, Soft Drinks Companies Sponsoring Olympics

LOCOG Chair Sebastian Coe has "staunchly defended" the sponsorship of the London Olympics by fast food and soft drinks companies, arguing that the investment by brands such as Coca-Cola and McDonald's is "essential to making the event a success," according to Mark Sweney of the London GUARDIAN. Coe said, in a conversation with global communications services group WPP CEO Martin Sorrell at the Cannes Int'l Festival of Creativity, that he felt that some of the Olympic sponsors -- which have invested more than £750M ($1.2B) to associate themselves with the Games -- have been "unfairly maligned." Coe said, "Sponsors play a really important role to help that happen." Coe added that the financial reality of hosting an Olympic Games meant that "it is impossible to expect the event to be delivered without significant commercial support." Coe: "Sport is doing so much more and is being asked to do so much more than crash, bang, wallop at Stamford Bridge on a Tuesday night. I don't think any games in history have been delivered in such a difficult environment, but the economic dividend around this has already been profound" (GUARDIAN, 6/22).
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