SBD Global/August 8, 2012/Olympics

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  • Check Out The Latest Headlines From London At SBJ/SBDG's Olympic Site

    SportsBusiness Journal/SportsBusiness Daily has launched a free website exclusively geared to the Summer Games that will feature news, video, blogs and much more from London. See the site today for the following news:

    Hilton sets up U.S.-China beach volleyball exhibition for NBC this fall

    FIBA not necessarily on board for Olympic basketball age limit

    TOP sponsor McDonald's gets rare Olympic access after years of talks

    Catching Up With: Coca-Cola marketing executive Scott McCune

    Olympic icon Summer Sanders rides new "mommy marketing" wave

    Catching Up With: Dermot Boden, Citi's chief brand officer

    On The Ground: London's Aquatics Centre falls short of other venues
    For more, go to:
    www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/SB-Blogs/Olympics/London-Olympics.aspx

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  • Visa Gets Fast Start With New Ad Taking Advantage Of Bolt's 100m Victory

    Visa Europe has "turned around a 10-second ad featuring Usain Bolt's 100m Olympic win" as part of the company's "Flow Faster" campaign, according to Loulla-Mae Eleftheriou-Smith of BRAND REPUBLIC. The Saatchi & Saatchi-created ad, which launched on Facebook and European TV Sunday, shows Bolt "running around a track and pulling his signature 'lightning bolt' gesture." A voiceover says, "Congratulations Usain on flowing faster." The ad is scheduled to air in the U.K. and Turkey, as well as on websites in Europe (BRANDREPUBLIC.com, 8/7). REUTERS' Keith Weir noted Bolt is the "face of German sportswear company Puma," but since the company is not an Olympic sponsor, it "can only start a fresh marketing campaign built around Bolt next week once the Games are over." Bolt "looks certain to improve on annual earnings of $20M after retaining his 100m Olympic title and the world record on Sunday night." Bolt is "an advertising man's dream," as his name is "made for his profession and he has won fans on the biggest global stage with a unique cocktail of cheek and cool." Bolt has a "series of lucrative sponsorship deals" in addition to Puma and Visa, including Gatorade, Swiss watchmaker Hublot, Virgin Media, Soul Electronics and Nissan. Millward Brown Global BrandZ Dir Peter Walshe "compared Bolt's marketability with former England soccer captain David Beckham, one of the most well-known sports celebrities Britain has produced" (REUTERS, 8/6).

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  • Visa Sees Surge In Card Use, But London Businesses Claim Sales Are Weak

    Int'l visitors to the U.K. spent more than £450M ($705M) on their Visa cards during the first week of the Olympic Games, up by 8% from the same time last year, according to Alan Jones of the PA. Visa said that restaurants, nightclubs, theatres and tourist attractions "all benefited from the increase." Visa card spending on theatres and other ticket sales "more than doubled" to £5.3M ($8.3M). This is possibly driven by last-minute deals "following reports of a quieter period for the theatre industry and also spending on tickets for the Olympics as additional tickets went on sale" (PA, 8/7). In London, Miles Brignall reported that Visa said that spending among foreign cardholders was up 24% to £2.1M ($3.3M) last week. Visitors are "finding time for sightseeing." Visa spending on attractions and exhibitions was up 12%. A Visa spokesperson said that there was "a big uptake in domestic spending" during the second half of the week as Brits "realised you could travel into London and watch some Olympic events even without a ticket." American visitors "splashed the most non-U.K. cash" during the first week of the Games – £58M ($91M) – followed by Japanese tourists (£30M) and French and Italian visitors, suggesting "the euro crisis hasn't reduced all spending" (GUARDIAN, 8/7).

    RETAILERS SUFFERING: Meanwhile, in London, Hopkins & Leroux reported shops that were counting on a summer of events including the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, Euro 2012 and the London Games "breathing new life into the high street have been left feeling as grey as the weather." The British Retail Consortium and KPMG have reported that "like-for-like sales rose by a meagre" 0.1% in the year to July, compared with a 0.6% increase in the same month last year. KPMG Head of Retail Helen Dickinson said, “Sadly, July was a lacklustre month and it’s doubtful this trend will change as early expectations that the Olympics will raise retailers’ fortunes look to be wide of the mark." The consortium and KPMG said that retailers in central London "had been hit hard by shoppers actively avoiding the capital," and it was likely that "any benefit brought by the Games would be short-lived” (LONDON TIMES, 8/7). MARKETING MAGAZINE's Matthew Chapman wrote that the Olympics "may finally be benefiting central London retail after initially having an adverse effect on footfall." Heart of London, the business improvement district representing the area of Leicester Square, Piccadilly and St James’, said that between July 30-31, "footfall was up" 11.6% from the previous week, and up 16.2% from the same week in '11 (MARKETINGMAGAZINE.co.uk, 8/7).

    TOUGH SAILING: In London, Simon Greaves reported that businesses in the Dorset resort of Weymouth, which is hosting Olympic sailing on the waters off the Jurassic coast, are "fearful of the worst summer season in half a century." Despite the crowds "that have lined the cliff tops and beaches to watch the action," traditional tourists "have been deterred." Antonio's Cafe owner Francis Drake said, "It's been a bad business. Quite frankly, we will be glad to see the back of the Olympics" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 8/6).

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  • AOC Calls For More Government Funding, But Has $100M Sitting In The Bank

    Australia's Sally Pearson celebrates after winning the 100m hurdles Tuesday, a rare bright spot for the Aussies.

    Australian Olympic Committee President John Coates has been calling "for more taxpayer funding of elite sports" at the same time as financial accounts show that his organization sits atop $100M in funds, according to Ben Butler of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. The money, invested in shares and property funds by related Australian Olympic Foundation, would be "enough to fund at least 700 athletes to attend the nation's top school for elite sportsmen and women," the Australian Institute of Sport, for five years. Speaking from London, the head of the foundation's investment committee and former Liberal leader John Hewson said it was "absolutely" worthwhile investing the money rather than spending it. Besides being president of the AOC, for which he is paid $482,000 annually, Coates is Chair of the foundation. The Australian government spends about $170M a year on elite athletes, with "most of that focused on Olympic sports" (SMH, 8/8). Also in Sydney, Le Grand & Parnell wrote that "if dollars make the difference between silver and gold," as the IOC's Kevan Gosper contends, "then our swimmers should have scooped the pool in London." The swimmer, already the best funded team in Australia's Olympic squad, were given a 60% rise to boost our medal prospects. On top of the $4.26M funding during the last financial year, the swimmers were also granted a further $3M. The additional money took the funds invested by the Australian Sports Commission in high-performance swimming in the four years leading up to the London Games to $28.6M. Supporting evidence that money is a difference maker can be found in Australia's performance in sailing, which was allocated $2M in new funding to bring the budget to $4.7M for its final year of preparations. In comparison with Australia's sole Gold Medal from the pool, the two Gold Medals won by Australian sailors "came at a bargain price" of $17M over four years. Elsewhere, additional money "was invested in athletes who were unable to put themselves into medal contention, and in some instances in athletes who failed to make the trip to London" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 8/8).

    THE COST OF GOLD: In London, Donna Bowater wrote that a total of 38 Medals going into day 11 puts Britain "on course for one of the country's most successful Games" with the chance to win more than 19 Gold Medals for the first time in 104 years. U.K. Sport's funding received £264M ($412.8M) this year, largely from investment through the National Lottery. If British athletes meet projections of collecting 57 medals, the funding equates £4.6M ($7.2M) per medal compared to £2.1M ($3.3M) for each of Britain's 28 medals in Sydney. In total, a combined total of 143 medals to date since '00 has cost just more than £4M ($6.26M) per medal (TELEGRAPH, 8/7). The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Sandra Hu reported on its China Real Time Report blog that "the cost of grooming China's new Olympic swimming star," Sun Yang, amounted to 10M yuan ($1.57M) over the past two years. Chinese Internet users are asking: "has it all been worth it?" The question hinges on whether China "has better things to spend its money on" (WSJ, 8/7).

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  • LOCOG To Investigate How Unofficial Condoms Turned Up In Olympic Village

    The London Games are investigating "how a bucket of unofficial condoms found its way into the Athletes' Village without official consent," according to REUTERS. LOCOG "provided 150,000 free condoms in dispensers for the 10,800 athletes at the Games," supplied by Durex, which paid for the supply rights. A LOCOG spokesperson said that "they were trying to find out who distributed the Kangaroo condoms." The container shown to hold condoms from Durex's rivals -- Australian company Ansell Ltd. and private British firm Pasante. She also said that athletes and officials "were allowed to bring products into the Village for their personal use." She continued, "We will look into this and ask that they are not handed out to other athletes because Durex are our supplier." An Ansell spokesperson said that her company "knew nothing about the issue and it could well be a prank." She said, "We have had no official participation or association with the Olympics at all." Pasante Managing Dir Lawrence Boon said that his company "had no involvement with the distribution of condoms in the Athletes' Village" and he "suspected it was a prank by the Australian team" (REUTERS, 8/7).

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  • Hotel Company Hilton Will Host A Beach Volleyball Exhibition Match On Waikiki Beach

    Hotel company Hilton Worldwide, which sponsors both the Chinese and U.S. Olympic teams, has arranged to host an exhibition match between the beach volleyball teams from both countries at Hilton Hawaiian Village on Waikiki Beach in the fall. The games will be played on Oct. 20 and broadcast on both NBC and Chinese TV. Hilton Worldwide Senior VP/Global Customer Marketing Jeff Diskin said, "Sponsors are always challenged with making the Olympics live beyond the few weeks. Events like this are a great example of how we’re bringing that flavor and that equity beyond the games." The competition will feature a U.S. women’s team of April Ross and Kerri Walsh against China’s Chen Xue and Xi Zhang, and a U.S. men’s team of Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser against China’s Penggen Wu and Linyin Xu. The tentative format also calls for mixed doubles play. The broadcast on NBC is a time buy, and it will air in November. The event will be shown on China TV at a later date. Diskin said that Hilton still is working on those final details, but the company wanted to announce the exhibition Wednesday because Walsh and Misty May-Treanor played against Xue and Zhang on Tuesday. Hilton is one of only two sponsors of the Chinese Olympic team. It has sponsored the U.S. Olympic team since '05. Diskin said, "We’re sponsoring team USA and Team China and this is a great way to provide a platform for us and support the athletes. We hope to bring a lot of attention to our athletes, our sponsorship and creating a great event for the two top medal winning countries from these games."

    Print | Tags: Olympics, China, North America
  • LOCOG Chair Coe Says Compulsory Sport In Schools Will Help U.K. Athletics Stay Strong

    LOCOG Chair Sebastian Coe said compulsory sport in schools will help U.K. athletics remain viable.

    LOCOG Chair Sebastian Coe has “demanded more compulsory sport in schools to capitalise on the enthusiasm generated by the Olympics and to stop Britain's stunning successes from being a flash in the pan,” according to Morris & Milmo of the London INDEPENDENT. U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron and cabinet ministers are “now under intense pressure to reverse some of their planned cuts to sports spending, in an effort both to increase participation rates and to improve the nation's health.” Coe said, "School sport and legacy, this is (an) opportunity. This is never going to come around again. It is the vehicle of our lifetime. There is inevitably a limited window. ... We need the things in place to capitalise on that spike in interest" (INDEPENDENT, 8/7). In London, Paul Kelso noted London’s bid to host the Games was “based on a promise to deliver a legacy,” but Coe and LOCOG Deputy Chair Keith Mills have “warned the opportunity has to be grasped if the Games motto, ‘Inspire a Generation,’ is not to prove an empty slogan.” Coe: “The government need to do what they are doing and recognise that this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.” Debate around the legacy impact of the Games has “increased in recent days in the wake of the British team’s success, with a focus on the limited opportunities in state schools.” Mills called for change in the country's "approach to sport, with a new national strategy to capitalise on the Games effect across all the major departments including health, education, home office and culture." Mills: "Immediately [after] the Games are over, we need to develop a national sports strategy. Let’s pull together the main departments in government and agree a national strategy. And agree on how we deliver it" (TELEGRAPH, 8/6).

    COLLEGE YEARS: In London, Chris Cook reported that "universities are the background to much great British sporting history," from Roger Bannister's four-minute mile at Oxford's Iffley Road track to Sebastian Coe's Olympic Gold Medals, won after years of training at Loughborough. Head of Sports at Loughborough Chris Earle said that "university facilities are so good in so many places, ordinary student life may be the best way for many potentially elite athletes to train, rather than through a club." He said, "Eighteen to 22 is a critical time. They're learning if they've got what it takes to be the best. But they're also getting an education. If they become injured, or when they retire, they have an education to fall back on" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 8/7).

    TIME TO CELEBRATE: In London, Matthew Taylor noted Team GB officials have confirmed that “hundreds of thousands of fans are expected to line the streets of London for an Olympics victory parade in September.” All of Team GB “will be invited to take part in the event that will wind its way through the centre of the city” on Sept. 10. Organizers said that the parade will “give fans and competitors the chance to celebrate together.” The parade is “expected to pass through the City of London and on to Trafalgar Square before arriving at the Queen Victoria monument in front of Buckingham Palace where the athletes will congregate for the finale” (GUARDIAN, 8/7).

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  • Brazil And South Korea Have Extra Motivation To Win Their Semifinal Matchups

    The traditional bonuses that the Brazilian Football team and the coaching staff receive from the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) "will only be paid" if they win the Gold Medal at the London Games, according to Carlos Padeiro of UOL.com.br. The decision had been made before the team left for London. A Silver or Bronze Medal will not result "in a financial reward." Brazil faces South Korea Tuesday in the semifinal. The South Koreans will not be lacking incentives to win, either. The South Korean government "offered to waive the military service" to athletes who win a Medal at the Games. (UOL.com.br, 8/7).

    BON APPETIT: The DPA reported that not only South Koreans who win a Medal at the London Games "will be exempted from military service but also Mongolians." The countries of Belarus, Bulgaria and Lithuania offer their Olympic Medal winners, besides bonus payments, "a life-long supply of sausages." The private sausage company behind the marketing idea said, "Of course we will consider the different tastes of the athletes." Instead of food, a "life-long supply of milk" waits for Nigeria's Medal winners (DPA, 8/7).

    I WANT IT NOW: The PTI reported that Indian shooter and Olympic Silver Medalist Vijay Kumar "threatened to quit" his military service. The Indian Army is now "thinking of giving him a promotion and a cash reward" of up to RS 30 lakh ($54,000). The army is "expected to announce a reward of up to Rs 30 lakh once he is back from London" (PTI, 8/7).

    Print | Tags: Brazil, Olympics
  • FIBA Not A Proponent Of Age Limit For Olympic Basketball Players

    USA Basketball can limit its team to players under the age of 23, as NBA Commissioner David Stern recently proposed, but do not expect the rest of the world to follow suit any time soon. FIBA Secretary General Patrick Baumann said that he will meet with Stern about the idea to get more details before bringing it to FIBA’s 200-plus members for approval. “When, whether, what age -- I’m not sure they have a clear mind on that,” Baumann said. “USA Basketball may make up its own mind about whether they want to come with youngsters here. That could be their choice. There is going to be a lot of debate. ... Every idea is welcome.” The 23-year-old age limit that Stern proposed has become the most-discussed, off-court issue during the Olympics. Baumann said that creating an age limit would hurt countries like Nigeria, which is still developing the game. He added that FIBA would not make a decision on the subject any time soon. The subject likely will become one of several issues the NBA and FIBA work through in the coming years. Baumann said FIBA is unhappy with the lack of int'l basketball exhibitions and qualifiers that are played each year. He would prefer a similar system to soccer, which sets aside a few weekends of every year for players to leave their professional clubs and play in national team games. “I don’t think there have been official games of USA Basketball in the United States qualifying for somewhere,” said Baumann, who is from Switzerland and also is a member of the IOC. “I don’t remember since 1993, the German fans haven’t seen the German national team playing in Germany. Our members have an issue with that” (Tripp Mickle, SportsBusiness Journal).

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  • Olympic Marketing Notes: A Mini Controversy

    These small, remote-controlled versions of Mini cars shuttling track and field gear around Olympic Stadium have become a controversy.

    REUTERS' Karolos Grohmann reported that small, remote-controlled versions of Mini cars whizzing around Olympic Stadium to shuttle javelins, discus and hammers back to the athletes "have triggered branding questions at what are strictly ad-free Olympic venues at the London Games." The Minis, made by BMW, who is also a Games sponsor, "may not carry visible logos but are instantly recognisable for what they are." IOC Dir of TV and Marketing Services Timo Lumme said, "There is no commercial reason (behind choosing Minis)." He said that the choice as transporters for the athletes' equipment "was not dictated by a commercial decision." Since the start of the athletics competitions last week, the Minis have "instantly become a point of discussion." Their use inside the stadium has raised questions of "whether the IOC was indirectly relaxing its own strict ad rules" (REUTERS, 8/7).

    ADIDAS AMBUSH: MARKETING MAGAZINE's Matthew Chapman reported that Olympic sponsor adidas "has been ambushed" by a giant projection on a tower block overlooking the Olympic Park, "that linked the brand with exploitation." Pressure group War on Want projected a 65ft-high image onto Dennison Point Sunday night, proclaiming "exploitation -- not OK here, not OK anywhere," underneath the adidas logo. War on Want claims adidas has already sold £100M ($157M) of Olympic clothing (which the company revealed in its financial results last week) and alleges "workers making its goods around the world are paid poverty wages and are having to skip meals to survive." In a statement adidas said, "Adidas is confident we are adhering to and, in fact, exceeding the high standards set by LOCOG and we would urge War on Want to deal in fact rather than fiction" (MARKETINGMAGAZINE.co.uk, 8/6).

    CHANGING GEARS: MARKETING MAGAZINE's Loulla-Mae Eleftheriou-Smith reported that McDonald's has "shifted into the next phase of its £10M ($15.7M) Olympics campaign," airing pictures and footage straight from fans during the events, which are used for its "We're All Making The Games" campaign. The crowdsourced ads have been made by "splicing clips of fans" watching the Games over the past week, supported by "digital outdoor ads featuring pictures that Olympics fans have posted of themselves onto a dedicated Facebook page" (MARKETINGMAGAZINE.co.uk, 8/7).

    BT LAUNCH: The BRAND REPUBLIC's Sarah Shearman reported that BT has launched an ad campaign "to highlight its role in delivering communication services during the Games." The TV ad, created by Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, features "viewers' reactions to the Games." The ad was aired Monday during "Coronation Street" on ITV1. It features "a large crowd celebrating the Games in Hyde Park," where the telecoms company has been hosting live screenings and events during the course of the Games (BRANDREPUBLIC.com, 8/6).

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  • Olympic Notes

    In London, Shekhar Bhatia noted Olympics bosses have admitted that they have brought on "too many unpaid volunteers for the Games." They have been “astonished” by the low demand from VIPs for volunteer-chauffeured cars. So few of the BMWs are being used that many of the 9,000 drivers "have been left twiddling their thumbs for large parts of their 10-hour shifts." Many volunteers are now being given days off, "so they can fill empty seats in venues and enjoy the sporting action" (INDEPENDENT, 8/7).

    THE SOCIAL GAMES: In London, Emma Barnett noted heptathlon Gold Medal winner Jessica Ennis experienced the biggest increase in new Facebook fans, with a 3,757% increase in "likes"over the weekend. She now has almost 500,000 fans in total. Ennis' teammate and training partner Katarina Johnson-Thomson also "experienced a huge uplift in fans online," with a 1,223% increase. Great Britain's Mo Farah was the "other big Facebook winner," securing an additional 25,000 Facebook "likes" this past weekend, a 65% jump (TELEGRAPH, 8/7).

    MISSING IN ACTION: The BBC reported seven Cameroonian athletes "have absconded while in Britain for the Olympics." The seven, including five boxers, are suspected of having decided to stay in Europe "for economic reasons" (BBC, 8/7).

    INSPIRATION: In Beijing, Zheng Xin wrote as China continues to rack up Gold Medals in the London Games, Beijing's fitness centers are "also enjoying golden times." The capital has seen a spike in new gym memberships, with many residents "inspired to get in shape by Olympic heroes," such as badminton ace Lin Dan. Hosa Fitness, in the Chaoyang district of Beijing, Membership Registration employee Zhang Wei said, "Although the summer is a traditional peak season for fitness clubs, the number of new members in July was higher than last year" (CHINA DAILY, 8/7). 

    Print | Tags: Olympics, United Kingdom
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