SBJ/March 5-11, 2012/Olympics

USOC to turn Times Square red, white and blue April 18

Team USA is taking over Times Square on April 18.

In its continued effort to create events outside the 17 days of the Olympics, the U.S. Olympic Committee has rented space in Times Square for a celebration of the 100-day mark until the opening ceremony for the London Games on July 27.

A rendering shows the setup for the USOC’s celebration marking 100 days till London.
Rendering: USOC
The event will be twice as large as the inaugural 100-days-out celebration that the USOC held before the Vancouver Games. This year’s event, which is being called the 100 Day Countdown to the London Games, will stretch over two blocks and feature Olympic athletes, costumed beefeaters, a double-decker bus, red phone booths and activation from 11 sponsors.

“It’s far bigger and that says something,” said Lisa Baird, USOC’s chief marketing officer. “We had a lot of activation by our sponsors [last time] but we didn’t plan it with the lead time we needed. When we brought it to our sponsors again, we realized that 100 days out can be a major tent pole on our marketing calendar.”

Hilton was one of the first sponsors to commit to support the event. The company signed on as the event’s presenting sponsor and will use it to promote its Hilton HHonors program. The company will use its involvement to promote its “Come Dream With Us” marketing program, which includes a sweepstakes for consumers to attend the Games.

It’s “an opportunity to further our commitment to Team USA and bring consumers even closer to the Olympic Games,” said Jeff Diskin, Hilton Worldwide’s senior vice president, global marketing.

The USOC plans to erect a stage in Times Square near the red staircase that holds TKTS booth. There will be an emcee directing passers-by to sports stations that the USOC plans. There will be a BMX ramp, a volleyball court and a basketball court.

There also will be sponsor-branded activity stations such as the Samsung Endurance station where visitors can test their stamina on stationary bikes and the TD Ameritrade Precision station where guests can test their skill at a video-game simulation of rifle target practice.

“This is a great way to bring a piece of the Olympic Village in London and plop it down in Times Square,” Baird said. “It’s an opportunity to really touch and impact a lot of people.”

The USOC hired Michael Alan Group to produce the event.

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