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SBD Global/January 16, 2014/Marketing and Sponsorship

Glasgow Commonwealth Games Organizers Try New Strategies To Attract Sponsors

Jessica Ennis-Hill withdrew from the Games due to her pregnancy.
Glasgow 2014 commercial chiefs have been forced to adopt a “flexible” and left-of-field approach to luring in sponsors, but Deputy CEO Ty Speer insists the Games are not suffering from a “hangover” from the 2012 London Olympics. Speer is the man charged with securing the £100M ($164M) commercial program for the 2014 Commonwealth Games, which comes from a mix of private and public-sector funding, including sponsorship and ticketing. Critics argue the event, which is much smaller than the Olympics, has fallen under the radar while last week it suffered a blow when London 2012 Gold Medallist Jessica Ennis-Hill withdrew from the Games. But there is no doubt that Speer, who also held the commercial role of client services director at London 2012, has managed to attract some big-name sponsors, including first-time Commonwealth Games sponsors BP, Emirates and Virgin Media. Unlike the stricter parameters guiding London 2012 sponsorship, and amid a tough sponsorship market, Speer has been forced to think of left-of-field ways of attracting sponsors. These include individualized incentives like “upgrade packages across our sporting, festival and cultural programmes” for sponsors. Speer added, “Our policy, which maybe differs from other sporting properties, is to use this flexibility to create bespoke sponsorship packages around each client’s business requirements. We have acknowledged the changing world of sponsorship where every pound spent must be justified and we have created flexibility with our propositions.”

NO OLYMPIC 'HANGOVER': Speer believes that commercially Glasgow 2014 has benefited from coming just two years after the Olympics. Speer: “We haven’t seen any sort of hangover from London 2012 -- in fact it has probably shown the potential of effective sponsorship of multi-sports events for brands.” Some have suggested that sponsors have hitherto done little activation around Glasgow 2014, though this is likely to accelerate as the July start draws nearer. Speer said, “We always knew that sponsor activation was going to be back-end loaded when awareness and excitement of the Games is at its highest.” Despite the setback of Ennis-Hill not competing, Speer points to the expected participation of top Caribbean athletes, expected to include Usain Bolt in the 200m, adding that there will be 178 London 2012 medal winners competing in the Games.
John Reynolds is a writer in London.
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