Ambush marketing concerns at a minimum, USOC’s Baird says

In 2010, the U.S. Olympic Committee used its pre-Olympics press conference as a platform to criticize ambush marketing, but Thursday the organization kept the focus on sports.
 
USOC chief marketer Lisa Baird, who named Subway as an ambush marketer in 2010, said that there had been no ambushing concerns from sponsors prior to the London Games.
“We’re glad [the Olympics are] finally here,” Baird said. “Just like our athletes have spent many moments preparing for this moment, our partners are as well.”
 
Most of the press conference was focused on three-time Olympic fencer Mariel Zagunis’ selection as Team USA’s flag bearer in the opening ceremony. Zagunis credited her teammate and captain, fencer Tim Morehouse, for lobbying for her to carry the flag. She was selected in a voting process by captains of the other 20-plus sports teams, which all nominated a candidate.
 
“It means the world to me,” Zagunis said. “I’m such a fan of the Olympics.”
 
She added that the honor meant that much more because it is the 40th anniversary of Title IX, and Team USA has more women team members than men for the first time ever.
 
A British journalist asked USOC Chief Executive Scott Blackmun if he agreed with comments Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney made Wednesday expressing doubts about the London Games and calling security issues and potential strikes “disconcerting.” Blackmun said he was unfamiliar with Romney’s remark, but said that the USOC’s experience in London had been nothing but positive.
 
 “We’ve seen nothing but great enthusiasm from people on the street,” Blackmun said.
 
Baird added, “We’re seeing research that shows that [British Olympic] fans really want this. They’re excited to see the teams here. [Our sponsors are] thrilled. We have a level of sponsors activating that we’ve never seen before and a lot of that is because of London.”
 
Blackmun said that the USOC has more sponsors here than any other Games.

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