Citi Officially Renews Its Deal With The USOC Through '16 Rio Games
Citi today formally announced it will renew its sponsorship of the USOC, making it the official bank partner of Team USA through the ‘16 Rio de Janeiro Games. The deal, which sources valued at more than $15M over four years, means the USOC will retain both of the banking partners it signed prior to the '12 London Olympics. TD Ameritrade last month announced it planned to return as the official brokerage of Team USA for the ‘14 Sochi and ‘16 Rio Games. Citi’s renewal was far from guaranteed. The company last year ousted CEO Vikram Pandit, who attended the London Games, and replaced him with Michael Corbat, who announced plans to eliminate 11,000 jobs and $1.1B in costs from Citi’s business. Cost cutting usually hits marketing budgets and could have pressured the USOC deal, but Citi Exec VP/Global Public Affairs Edward Skyler said that the bank saw more than enough value in its USOC sponsorship to justify a renewal. Skyler: "Internally, the partnership with the USOC and the Olympic team resonated incredibly strongly. We have employees in every state in the country and we engaged them aggressively and they responded. To some extent, we were feeling the enthusiasm our colleagues had for the sponsorship.” He added that the company felt the USOC’s values and ideals reflected Citi’s values. Skyler said, "We took a close look at the impact of the association with the Olympic and Paralympic teams and it resonated externally as we told people about it. In looking at bank preference, the numbers were very strong."
DEAL DOES NOT INCLUDE NBC INVENTORY: Citi’s original deal with the USOC was a packaged agreement that included a Team USA sponsorship deal and advertising inventory on NBC during the London Games. The deal was valued at more than $25M. It was the first time the USOC and NBC had sold a package like that. But Skyler said that Citi opted not to sign on for another joint USOC-NBC deal. Skyler said, “In this situation, being that we're talking about one Games a year and a half away and another four years away, there wasn't a need to package the media time and sponsorship together. And from a financial planning point of view, it gives us flexibility in terms of not making commitments to a media spend four years away." He added that Citi is in conversations with NBC about advertising during Sochi. It also is in talks with Olympic hopefuls who could become members of a Team Citi program. Sources familiar with Citi’s plans said that it will bring back the “Every Step of the Way” marketing program it developed for the London Games. Skyler declined to comment on specific plans. The “Every Step of the Way” program allowed Americans to use Facebook and Twitter to direct $500,000 to nonprofit sport organizations selected by 13 athletes with Citi endorsement deals. The initiative was recognized by PR Week as the Cause-Related Campaign of the Year.