• U.S. women gymnasts live up to their hype in London

    Each day during the Summer Games, SportsBusiness Journal offers its take on the business performances of some of the people, sponsors, broadcasters and other entities around London.

    GOLD

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    U.S. women’s
    gymnastics team


    The golden girls haven’t disappointed in London, winning the team gold medal Tuesday night, the first for the United States in 16 years. With Gabby Douglas and Aly Raisman set for the all-around, and numerous medal hopes in the individual events, the U.S. women are poised to be one of the major stories of the Games — with their sponsors happily along for the ride.

    SILVER

    Michael Phelps

    Even though a somewhat lackadaisical last four years may have finally caught up to the great one, Phelps still managed to set the record as the most decorated Olympian on Tuesday. Phelps now has 19 Olympic medals overall, 15 of them gold, but he has had a shaky London Games up to this point, losing a major-competition 200 butterfly for the first time in over a decade and finishing off the medal stand in the 400 IM. But with three events remaining, he still has a chance to further make history.

    BRONZE

    Visa’s “Go World” campaign

    Always an Olympic marketing leader, Visa has collected more than 38 million “cheers” from fans worldwide for its “Go World” campaign, and the spots promoting it have been viewed more than 25 million times on YouTube. Among the cheers Visa received, 1.9 million came in the form of “likes” on the company’s Facebook page.

    TIN

    NBC’s Twitter flap

    The move to ban reporter Guy Adams from Twitter after he tweeted NBC Olympics President Gary Zenkel’s email address in frustration over tape-delayed coverage backfired this week. The subject became fodder across the Internet, and NBC and Twitter did not fare well in public opinion. Adams’ Twitter account was reinstated Tuesday, but in hindsight it might have been best to just let him rant to his 4,500 followers at the time.

  • GE, Missy Franklin and the Olympic Park light it up on Monday

    Each day during the Summer Games, SportsBusiness Journal offers our take on the business performances of some of the people, sponsors, broadcasters and other entities around London.

    GOLD

    GE

    General Electric, an official Olympic sponsor since 2005, announced Monday that it has exceeded $1 billion in infrastructure sales over the past four Olympic Games, which includes $100 million in lights, power supplies and other equipment for the London Games. That’s a lot of light bulbs, not to mention a successful partnership.

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    SILVER

    Missy Franklin

    Though she is maintaining her amateur status during these Games so she can compete in college, Franklin has been promoted by NBC throughout the buildup to London as one of the female faces of the Games. The 17-year-old certainly delivered in her first individual event Monday night, winning the 100 backstroke.

    BRONZE

    The Olympic Park

    Contrary to four years ago, London’s Olympic Park has been open, welcoming and a fun, party atmosphere. Organizers did a nice job with the park’s planning and layout, and sponsors have to be pleased with the crowds it is drawing.

    TIN

    “Today” show promo

    NBC spoiled the results of Missy Franklin’s victory when it ran a “Today” show promo 10 minutes before her race that included a voiceover saying: “When you’re 17 years old and win your first gold medal, there’s nobody you’d rather share it with. We’re there when Missy Franklin and her parents reunite.” We understand that mistakes happen. But if you’re going to offer tape-delayed coverage in prime time, and have everyone from Bob Costas on down working to build the drama, a mistake of this degree is unacceptable.

  • NBC, Adidas and Ryan Lochte make a big splash to start the Games

    GOLD

    NBC’s ratings

    It might be a little early for full-on congratulations, but NBC certainly has gotten out of the gate quickly with its London viewership. Friday night was the most-watched Summer Games opening ceremony in history — not to mention the highest-rated Friday night on any network in a decade — and the network’s two-day prime-time average of 35.6 million viewers is the best start to a Summer Olympics on record

    SILVER

    Adidas

    The company rolled the dice on sponsoring its second straight Summer Olympics, and its marketing bet is paying off. CEO Herbert Hainer said that Nike’s 3 percent lead in the U.K. has shrunk to 1 percent over the last two years. He’s hopeful the next two weeks will push Adidas closer to No. 1.

    BRONZE

    Ryan Lochte & his sponsors

    Numerous advertisers, including P&G’s Gillette brand and AT&T, have featured Lochte splashing away in the lead-up to the London Games, and he didn’t disappoint them during the opening weekend. As Lochte has said repeatedly this year, “This is my time.” His corporate partners have to be smiling as he looks to be heading toward a dominant performance.

    TIN

    VIP Ticketing

    The story of empty seats that broke Saturday in London could have been written months ago. It doesn’t matter what Olympics it is, there are always empty seats in the VIP section. The IOC and organizing committees need to figure out a better system for making sure the national Olympic committees, international federations and sponsors who get those seats fill them.

  • Danny Boyle’s Stunning Ceremony Kicks Off London Games In Style

    GOLD



    Danny Boyle’s Opening Ceremony


    Working with half the budget of China’s extravaganza in 2008, the Oscar-winning director still put together a stunning and memorable show to officially open the London Games.

    SILVER

    P&G’s U.S. Family Home

    Procter & Gamble has once again outdone itself with its 65,000-square-foot U.S. Family Home, which includes everything from the P&G Salon for moms to be pampered, to the Tide and Downy Laundry Center where families of Olympians can have their laundry done for free, to even a Gillette-branded “man cave.” The facility is massive, well thought out and, most of all, fun.

    BRONZE

    Raise Our Flag

    The U.S. Olympic Committee’s grassroots campaign, a first-time fundraising effort that encouraged Americans to pay $12 for a stitch in the American flag that hangs in USA House throughout the Games, generated nearly $400,000 for the USOC — $375,220, to be exact. That was creative thinking that generated unexpected revenue, while also giving fans another way to feel attached to Team USA.

    TIN

    Egypt’s Nike knock-offs

    The Egyptian Olympic Committee was accused this week of handing out counterfeit Nike-branded clothing for training and village wear. Knock-offs can be expected in the audience, but in the Olympic Village? Come on, guys. This is the big time. That’s bush league.

  • The Torch Relay, Title IX Take Top Billing As The Games Begin

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    GOLD

    Torch Relay organizers

    Four years after the Beijing Torch Relay was overshadowed by protests and criticism, the IOC and LOCOG decided to limit the Torch Relay to the U.K. They added Ireland later at IOC member Pat Hickey’s request. The relay has gone on without incident or complaint, and the crowds in London this week were large and enthusiastic.

    SILVER

    Title IX

    On the 40th anniversary of Title IX, its successes are certainly evident on the U.S. Olympic team in London. For the first time ever there are more U.S. women competing in the Games than men, not to mention just as many top story lines, if not more. And the U.S. flag bearer for the opening ceremony is Mariel Zagunis, a female fencer who credited Title IX for the honor.

    BRONZE

    Hilton & the USOC

    The U.S. Olympic Committee locked up its second renewal in consecutive days, with Hilton extending its $10 million pact with the governing body. That speaks highly to the USOC’s marketing ability, led by CMO Lisa Baird, and to Hilton’s ability to recognize return on its Olympic investment.

    TIN

    What’s up with that flag?

    The flap over the flag continues after the South Korean flag was shown on the big screen as the North Korean women’s soccer team warmed up for its opening Olympic match. In a way it’s humorous, but it’s also inexcusable. As one IOC delegate said Thursday, “The people are angry.” Politics aside, you really can’t blame them.

  • Romney’s gaffe overshadows a day of renewals and records

    GOLD

    The USOC & 24 Hour Fitness


    The U.S. Olympic Committee renewed its sponsorship with 24 Hour Fitness, a partnership that dates to 2003 and for which 24 Hour Fitness has successfully activated with athlete endorsements and tons of social media.

    SILVER

    NBC Sports sales team

    NBC announced Wednesday that it had surpassed $1 billion in national TV and digital advertising sales for the London Games, not only topping its own expectations but far exceeding any previous Olympic Games.

    BRONZE

    McDonald’s

    The two-all-beef-patties magnet countered criticism in the British press of its food options by offering healthy eating options in its Olympic restaurants, led by its signature Happy Meal, and pointing to its “Champions of Play” program for kids that promotes exercise and healthy eating.

    TIN

    Mitt Romney

    The former head of the Salt Lake City Games, and U.S. presidential candidate, put his foot in his mouth when he questioned the London Games before they’ve even started, citing security and labor concerns. He apologized later, but a former head of an Olympic organizing committee should have known better.


  • Procter & Gamble, the IOC and London’s venues set the standard

    GOLD

    Procter & Gamble

    The company continues to see success with its mom-focused marketing, as P&G’s “Thank You, Mom” spot has generated 53 million views worldwide, making it one of the most shared videos ever. P&G also saw 18 of its 24 endorsed U.S. athletes qualify for the London Games, giving it plenty of opportunities to further tie into the emotion of Olympians and the mothers behind them.

    SILVER

    IOC revenue


    The International Olympic Committee produced a whooping $5 billion in revenue from 2009 to 2012, topping the previous quadrennium by 50 percent — a further indication of the real gold and silver at stake in the Games.

    BRONZE

    London venues


    The IOC expects no “white elephants” in London. LOCOG found long-term tenants for most of its venues, and it will repurpose materials from temporary venues. In praising LOCOG’s work, IOC Coordination Commission Inspector Denis Oswald said, ”Such forward thinking was lacking in the past.”

    TIN

    CoSport


    The official London Games ticketing partner for the U.S., Australia and Canada has taken a beating for the lengthy lines and complaints of disorganization around its ticket distribution in London.

  • U.S. gymnasts, Greek yogurt get off to great Games start


    GOLD

    U.S. female gymnasts


    On the heels of the U.S. women’s gymnastics team snagging the cover of Sports Illustrated’s Olympic preview, team members and medal favorites Jordyn Wieber and Gabby Douglas both enjoyed new deals on Monday. Wasserman Media Group signed Wieber to a representation agreement, while Douglas was added to Procter & Gamble’s roster of athletes and is now part of its “P&G: Proud Sponsor of Moms” campaign.

    SILVER

    Chobani


    The Greek yogurt brand, which in February signed its first sports sponsorship and became the official packaged yogurt of Team USA, continues its run of success by having all of its athlete endorsers qualify for the London Games, a feat only two other official USOC sponsors — sports marketing veterans Budweiser and Citi — also accomplished.

    BRONZE

    Rick Dudley & Sir Martin Sorrell


    Dudley, president and CEO of Octagon, and Sorrell, founder and CEO of WPP Group, had the honor of participating in the Olympic Torch Relay on Monday in London as the flame works its way toward Friday’s opening ceremony.

    TIN

    G4S


    Bad decisions and worst publicity continue to haunt the British security firm, with the latest being that it no longer will be providing protection at the Olympic soccer stadium in Newcastle, the latest in a string of hits for the company.

  • Who's Faring Well As The Games Get Ready To Launch?

    GOLD

    NBC Sports Group


    NBC’s coverage from London can’t be considered anything but all-encompassing, as for the first time NBCOlympics.com will live stream every event, including streams of each of its channels, encompassing 3,500 total hours and the awarding of all 302 medals. Throw in coverage across its full lineup of channels — NBC, NBC Sports Network, MSNBC, CNBC, Bravo, Telemundo and more — and the company is finally offering viewers the ability to watch what they want, when they want, during the Games.


    SILVER

    U.S. Olympic Committee


    On the heels of fixing its revenue dispute with the International Olympic Committee, the USOC has made the prudent decision to continue building relationships across the Olympic world before bidding for another Olympics. The U.S. will now forego bidding for the 2022 Winter Games and instead focus on possible bids for either the 2024 Summer or 2026 Winter Games.


    BRONZE

    USA Swimming


    The national governing body comes into another Olympics with the top storylines and recognizable athletes — among them, Michael Phelps’ final Games, his rivalry with Ryan Lochte, and teen sensation Missy Franklin — and it pulled off a stellar Olympic Trials that was featured on NBC’s prime-time lineup eight straight nights.


    TIN

    USA Track & Field


    Unlike swimming and gymnastics, USA Track and Field’s Olympic Trials television package and presentation left a lot to be desired, and was somewhat of an afterthought compared to the two other top NGBs. The botched handling of the third-place tie in the women’s 100 meters, and subsequent cancellation of a run-off to determine who got the Olympic spot, was a fiasco that lasted nine days and left the beleaguered organization further battered.

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