SBJ/20080623/Countdown to Beijing

A pre-Games guide to USOC sponsor activity

Before the start of every NFL season, sports magazines offer readers short summations of team strengths, weaknesses, key players and projected performance. The result is a quick, easy-to-read guide that can last throughout the season.

What if you could do the same for sports business?

Before this summer’s Beijing Olympics, SportsBusiness Journal hopes to provide just that by offering a list of domestic sponsor activities in this issue and international sponsor activities in the July 21 issue.

This issue highlights information we’ve collected from U.S. Olympic Committee sponsor- and partner-level corporate backers as well as International Olympic Committee corporate partners who actively support the USOC. Our hope is that the result becomes a tear sheet, something you can revisit during the Games to get a sense of what each company is doing, who they are working with and how they are activating their partnership.

— Tripp Mickle

24 Hour Fitness
Sponsor start date with USOC: 2003
Senior sponsorship executive: Tony Wells, chief marketing officer
Collaborating agencies: Edelman (public relations); IMG; Suosdey Penn and Jason Headley (freelance advertising)
No. of staff expected in Beijing: Approximately 75 throughout the Games, which includes 21 Fitness Ambassadors who will staff the High Performance Training Center where U.S. athletes will train at Beijing Normal University
Activation plans in U.S.: Integrated marketing campaign, which will include television and print advertising, online, in-club signage and event marketing
Planned creative in U.S.: National cable television, regional television/print executions and in-club collateral will break in July and feature 24 Hour Fitness-endorsed athletes with the theme: “We are all athletes.”
Select endorsed athletes: Jeremy Wariner (track), Alicia Sacramone (gymnastics), Brian Olson (judo)
Allstate Insurance Co.
Sponsor start date with USOC: 2001
Senior sponsorship executive: Lisa Cochrane, vice president of marketing
Collaborating agencies: IMG; Leo Burnett; Starcom; Taylor; Octagon
No. of staff expected in Beijing: Not available
Activation plans in U.S.: Allstate does the greatest amount of activation around the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame presented by Allstate, which will be broadcast on NBC on Aug. 3. It also uses the Allstate/Olympics sponsorship rings in employee and agent communications.
Planned creative in U.S.: Allstate has provided its agency sales force with Olympic-themed consumer direct-mail materials and has been using the Allstate/Olympic composite logo on various Allstate national and local print ads. There also is dedicated Olympic-themed Asian ads running in Asian newspapers.
Select endorsed athletes: None
Anheuser-Busch Cos.
Sponsor start date with USOC: 1984
Senior sponsorship executive: Tony Ponturo, vice president, global media and sports marketing
Collaborating agency: Cannonball (St. Louis)
No. of staff expected in Beijing: Not available
Activation plans in U.S.: Budweiser is taking the Olympic Games to the masses through retail point-of-sale materials featuring Olympic athletes as well as hosting Olympic Games viewing parties in select markets nationwide.
Planned creative in U.S.: Budweiser is the exclusive alcohol beverage advertiser on NBC with 248 30-second units throughout the Games, and also will play a major role on with advertising and rich media/streaming video, including “Great American Olympic Moments presented by The Great American Lager.”
Select endorsed athletes: Amanda Beard (swimming), Brianna Glenn (track and field), Ian Crocker (swimming)
Sponsor start date with USOC: November 2005 (AT&T previously partnered with the USOC from 1984 to 2004, but the current deal was done following the company’s acquisition by SBC Communications and subsequent rebranding.)
Senior sponsorship executive: Cathy Coughlin, global marketing officer
Collaborating agencies: The Marketing Arm (lead Olympic agency); BBDO; MediaEdge Corp.; GSD&M
No. of staff expected in Beijing: 15 staff, 80 consumer sweepstakes winners and employees, 120 business customers.
Planned creative in U.S.: AT&T will have Olympic-themed broadcast TV, online, print, radio, direct mail and in-store creative in the marketplace between now and the conclusion of the Games. Various creative elements feature members of AT&T’s family of sponsored Team USA athletes and some will promote AT&T’s consumer activation programs as well as exclusive Olympic content offers. AT&T also will be in market with Spanish-language mass media featuring tae kwon do competitors in the Lopez family.
Activation plans in U.S.: Programs such as AT&T’s “Tips and Training” and USA Gymnastics’ “Behind The Team” are accessible on AT&T U-verseSM TV and the AT&T blue room; AT&T’s “How Are You Connected” to Team USA sweepstakes awarded eight consumers a trip for two to the Beijing Games; Richard Childress Racing’s No. 31 AT&T Chevrolet, driven by NASCAR Sprint Cup veteran Jeff Burton, will feature an Olympic paint scheme.
Select endorsed athletes: Michael Phelps (swimming), the Lopez family (tae kwon do), Sanya Richards (track)
AT&T and Hilton Hotels have both
put their support behind the fighting
Lopez family.
Bank of America’s “America’s Cheer” program has been a successful
grassroots effort.
Bank of America
Sponsor start date with USOC: 1992
Senior sponsorship executives: Ray Bednar, senior vice president, global sponsorship marketing; Craig Auerbach, Olympic platform executive
Collaborating agencies: BBDO-New York; SportsMark; Organic; GMR; Starcom; Ketchum Sports Network
No. of staff expected in Beijing: 50 (company and agency)
Activation plans in U.S.: Bank of America’s leveraging plans for the 2008 Olympic Games are primarily focused on three programs: America’s Cheer, U.S. Olympic Team Banking and the Bank of America Hometown Hopefuls Family Center. America’s Cheer is a new grassroots campaign that provides an opportunity for all Americans to cheer on Team USA by uploading video or audio recordings online, writing a letter or sharing a photo. U.S. Olympic Team Banking includes check cards, checks and credit cards that enable customers to support America’s athletes with every purchase. The Hometown Hopefuls Family Center will provide hospitality for friends, families and more than 600 U.S. Olympians in Beijing.
Planned creative in U.S.: U.S. Olympic Team-themed TV, radio, print, online and point-of-sale advertising, as well as a mobile Olympic experience that will travel across the country from mid-June through August.
Select endorsed athletes: Jennie Finch (softball), Brett Heyl (kayak), Aaron Peirsol (swimming)
The Coca-Cola Co.
Sponsor start date with USOC: Coca-Cola has been an Olympic sponsor since 1928.
Senior sponsorship executives for Coca-Cola North America: Katie Bayne, chief marketing officer; Coca-Cola North America; Bea Perez, senior vice president, integrated marketing, Coca-Cola North America
Collaborating agencies: IMG; Momentum; StudioCom; Juxt; Starcom Mediavest Group; Wieden & Kennedy; Leo Burnett
No. of staff expected in Beijing: Not available
Activation plans in U.S.: In-store promotions featuring Coca-Cola athletes will point customers to collectible packaging featuring a Coca-Cola “Six Pack” of athletes.
Planned creative in U.S.: Vignettes featuring Coca-Cola’s “Six Pack” of athletes will appear on NBC to raise awareness for the collectible packaging. Those will appear along with a commercial celebrating Coke’s 80-year relationship with the Olympics. will give visitors the chance to design their own digital Coke bottle and learn more about Coke athletes.
Select endorsed athletes: LeBron James (basketball), Andy Potts (triathlon), Shawn Johnson (gymnastics)
Sponsor start date with USOC: January 2005
Senior sponsorship executive: Peter Foss, president of Olympic sponsorship
Collaborating agencies: Edelman; IMG; BBDO; Syrup; Frog
No. of staff expected in Beijing: Not available
Activation plans in U.S.: Continuing from programs begun for the Torino 2006 Olympics, GE Healthcare is continuing its cardiac and musculoskeletal research programs in partnership with the USOC, Henry Ford Health System and Massachusetts General Hospital aimed at demonstrating that health monitoring and early intervention leads to injury prevention and enhanced health and sports performances for athletes. Clinical research with U.S. men’s rowing, USA Weightlifting, USA Boxing, USA Wrestling and the U.S. women’s national soccer team is being conducted in the U.S. both leading up to and during the Beijing Games.
Planned creative in U.S.: Leading up to the Beijing Games, the company launched a Web vignette highlighting GE Healthcare solutions that helped the U.S. weightlifting team. also launched a separate microsite for the Olympic Games which incorporates unique videos to tell the GE global growth story. During the Games, GE plans to participate in television advertising on the networks of NBC Universal.
Select endorsed athletes: Heather Mitts (soccer), Bryan Volpenhein (rowing), Wyatt Allen (rowing)
General Motors Corp.
Sponsor start date with USOC: 1997 (for the current agreement)
Senior sponsorship executive: Katherine Benoit, director of corporate marketing
Collaborating agencies: GM R*Works; Campbell-Ewald; McCann; IPG
No. of staff expected in Beijing: No GM activities planned in Beijing.
Activation plans in U.S.: GM activation includes TV and online ads. No other on-ground promo activities planned in U.S.
Planned creative in U.S.: Mix of TV and online ads with creative that includes GM corporate spots and Chevy spots, the lead global brand.
Select endorsed athletes: None
Hilton Hotels Corp.
Sponsor start date with USOC: 2005
Senior sponsorship executive: Jeffrey Diskin, senior vice president, brand management
Collaborating agencies: Not available
No. of staff expected in Beijing: Not available
Activation plans in U.S.: Hilton launched its Be Hospitable program in May, offering U.S. Olympians and Paralympians tips on Chinese customs, culture and etiquette in preparation for the Beijing Games.
Planned creative in U.S.: Did not disclose
Select endorsed athletes: Paul and Morgan Hamm (gymnastics), the Lopez family (tae kwon do)
The Home Depot
Sponsor start date with USOC: 1992
Senior sponsorship executive: John Ross, vice president of advertising
Collaborating agency: Octagon
No. of staff expected in Beijing: None
Activation plans in U.S.: Home Depot will be activating a cause-marketing program that drives consumers to help Home Depot support the U.S. Olympic Team. With each click to, Home Depot will donate $1 to Team USA, up to $1 million. The promotion includes online advertising, TV, print, direct mail and an Olympic-themed Kids Workshop. The USOC assets also will include the messaging.
Planned creative in U.S.: Olympic-themed TV, print and online advertising to come.
Select endorsed athletes: Employs 138 athletes through the Olympic Job Opportunities Program
Kellogg Co.
Sponsor start date with USOC: Did not disclose
Senior sponsorship executive: Did not disclose
Collaborating agency: Career Sports and Entertainment
No. of staff expected in Beijing: Did not disclose
Activation plans in U.S.: Did not disclose
Planned creative for the U.S.: A retail promotion is planned but details were not provided.
Select endorsed athletes: Michael Phelps (swimming), Donny Robinson (BMX), Kim Hayashi (BMX)
Sponsor start date with USOC: 2004
Senior sponsorship executive: Alice Li, vice president of Olympic marketing
Collaborating agencies: Ketchum Sports Network; Ogilvy & Mather
No. of staff expected in Beijing: 600 technicians, approximately 100 additional staff (all worldwide teams)
Activation plans in U.S.: Lenovo-sponsored champions (Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh) host events, conduct media tours and partner with Lenovo on programs with their chosen charities, where the company makes PC donations. Notebook philanthropy program: At six months out, on Feb. 8, Lenovo launched a global online philanthropic auction of limited-edition notebook PCs inspired by the Lenovo-designed Olympic Torch. In total, 34 computers will be auctioned worldwide and 100 percent of the proceeds will be distributed through the Lenovo Hope Fund to charities such as Right to Play. Lenovo also
created the Athlete Blogger program to help athletes share their Olympic experience with the world, including U.S. athletes at Lenovo is providing 100 athletes with IdeaPad personal computers and FlipCams. The IdeaPads are configured with a webcam and multimedia features to help the athletes in blogging and producing YouTube video.
Planned creative in U.S.: NBC television (and affiliated cable channels) and partnership breaking during the Games. It will feature up to four spots, one created especially to showcase Lenovo’s role as the official computing equipment partner to the Beijing Games.
Select endorsed athletes: Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh (beach volleyball)
Sponsor start date with USOC: 1976
Senior sponsorship executive: Don Thompson, president, McDonald’s USA
Collaborating agencies: iLuka and RPMC (hospitality)
No. of staff expected in Beijing: 1,300 restaurant employees for hospitality
Activation plans in U.S.: Packaging across all bags and cups; Passport to Play program promoting active lifestyles at 31,000 U.S. schools; feeding athletes in the Olympic Village; and USOC Junior Olympic Skills Competition, which awards trips to Beijing for the Games.
Planned creative in U.S.: To be determined
Select endorsed athletes: Tyson Gay (track), Ryan Lochte (swimming), Melanie Roach (weightlifting)
Nike Inc.
Sponsor start date with USOC: 2005
Senior sponsorship executive: Mark Parker, president and CEO
Collaborating agency: Wieden & Kennedy
No. of staff expected in Beijing: 150 globally
Activation plans in U.S.: Introduction of lightweight footwear, apparel and equipment for more than 25 Olympic sports, including sponsorship of the 2008 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Teams; Nike also is an official outfitter, providing athletes with the medal-stand uniform worn on the awards podium and during medal ceremonies.
Planned creative in U.S.: Print and broadcast advertising debuting in late July and running through August
Select endorsed athletes: Cullen Jones (swimming), Kara Goucher (track), Bubba Harris (BMX), Abby Wambach (soccer), Sanya Richards (track)
2004 gold-medal sprinter Sanya
Richards is one of Nike’s many
endorsed athletes.
Bank of America’s Team Banking includes
check cards, checks and credit cards.
Tyson Foods Inc.
Sponsor start date with USOC: 2006
Senior sponsorship executive: Dave Hogberg, senior vice president of marketing for consumer products
Collaborating agencies: Arnold Worldwide, CJRW, GolinHarris, MPG
No. of staff expected in Beijing: To be determined
Activation plans in U.S.: Tyson’s Gold Medal Mom contest featuring Olympic gymnastics champion and mother of four Mary Lou Retton will provide a mother with a trip for two to Beijing; Tyson is providing protein to all three U.S. Olympic Training Centers, to Olympic Hopefuls on the road through travel nutrition kits and to U.S. Olympians at the High Performance Training Center in Beijing.
Planned creative in U.S.: Tyson’s Olympic-themed Gold Medal Mom contest was developed as part of Tyson’s “Thank You, Mom” campaign.
Select endorsed athletes: None
United Airlines
Sponsor start date with USOC: 1980
Senior sponsorship executive: Dennis Cary, senior vice president of marketing
Collaborating agency: BDM Agency (advertising)
No. of staff expected in Beijing: In addition to staff working at the airport, United will have staff in-country supporting the travel needs of the U.S. Olympic Team.
Activation plans in U.S.: United will transport U.S. athletes and members of the USOC to Beijing along with much of their equipment.
Planned creative in U.S.: United will be a national advertiser on NBC during the network’s U.S. broadcasts from Beijing.
Select endorsed athletes: None
Visa Inc.
Sponsor start date with USOC: 1986
Senior sponsorship executive: Kevin Burke, head of global consumer marketing
Collaborating agencies: TBWA/Chiat Day; GMR Marketing; TEQUILA/Integer; SportsMark; Fleishman-Hillard
No. of staff expected in Beijing: Not available
Activation plans in U.S.: U.S. activation plans include an Olympic-themed advertising campaign (Go World), national promotion (Fastest Way to Beijing), financial institutions and merchant marketing and support for the Partnership for Play Every Day.
Planned creative in U.S.: Go World Olympic-themed advertising campaign (launched May 19) consists of national television commercials, online and print advertisements and an online microsite,
Select endorsed athletes: Katie Hoff (swimming), Paul Hamm (gymnastics), Allyson Felix (track)
Similar to the Athens Olympics, Visa has
utilized Michael Phelps in much of its
marketing activation building up to Beijing.
Note: Coca-Cola, GE, Lenovo, McDonald’s and Visa are also sponsors of the International Olympic Committee.
Countdown to Beijing
Next month: IOC sponsors
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