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Volume 27 No. 30
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Intel's $400M Deal With IOC Depends Largely On Cooperation From Existing Olympic Partners

Intel will pay about $400M in cash and in-kind value through ‘24 for the right to show off a collection of its advanced technical capabilities at the Olympics. The chipmaker’s deal with the IOC, officially announced yesterday in N.Y., is focused on its 5G mobile connection platforms, its VR, 3D, 360-degree video platforms, artificial intelligence and drones. But its official category designation was left intentionally vague, with both Intel and Olympic officials emphasizing a more general vision of enhancing the viewer experience and delivering a younger audience for the Games. “This is really going to allow people who would never have had a chance to get to Korea and see the Olympics to actually feel like they’re there,” said Intel CEO Brian Krzanich. "To me, this is about bringing the Olympics to many, many more people." Intel has pledged to help the Olympics’ in-house broadcasting arm produce live and on-demand VR coverage for 16 events in PyeongChang, and will deploy drones to capture footage of the '18 Games. It will also showcase 5G mobile connectivity on-site at the Olympics, which will help deliver the enhancements to mobile devices. IOC President Thomas Bach said: "Sport has to go where the people are, and many people, in particular young people, they are living a digital life, so we have to go with the sport, to where they are living, in their digital world.”

ALL TOGETHER NOW: The partnership is remarkable for how much of it depends on the cooperation from other IOC partners with exclusive rights in their own categories. Those brands in many cases are the end-use tech products that typically resonate more with consumers. For instance, the Intel-powered VR product is a moving image of Olympic competition, which NBCU has the exclusive rights to distribute in the U.S. Also, drones will likely carry cameras made by Panasonic, which has exclusivity in audio visual equipment and content capturing. Samsung has exclusive rights to mobile phones, and Korean telecom company KT has a domestic deal with the PyeongChang Games for the mobile network. "We can get almost none of this done without collaboration with other TOP partners, and partners around the world to bring these technologies to life,” Krzanich said. IOC Managing Dir of TV & Marketing Services Timo Lumme said those partners have agreed to work with Intel, but were not formally included in the contract. “It shows the totally interdependent nature of technology,” Lumme said. "Obviously that creates a few headaches for us, to have to play arbiter, but also to bring people together. This is part of what we do, to construct an environment where everyone has their own space but they’re able to add new players to make the whole bigger, and to deliver these technology solutions."

STAYING ACTIVE: Like other Olympics B-to-B sponsors, Intel will use the Games to entertain and impress potential corporate buyers of its chips, while also promoting its behind-the-scenes role to the general public. The IOC is by far Intel’s largest sports marketing buy to date. Intel CMO Steve Fund said, "This is the first global platform we’ve been parenting with, so in terms of scale and impact and reach, this is the biggest thing we’ve done.” Fund said Intel has yet to decide other aspects of its Olympic strategy, including how it will use athletes in its campaign or the size of its on-the-ground hospitality program or activations in South Korea. CAA Sports Consulting is Intel’s agency. CAA’s Greg Luckman and Seth Jacobs were at the press conference, but declined comment. Intel has issued an RFP for hospitality and other activation consulting for PyeongChang. USOC CMO Lisa Baird said it’s not yet clear what Intel’s plans are for its relationship with Team USA, which comes along with the global IOC deal, but the USOC and Intel have met about domestic activations. Despite the short startup window, South Korea is not merely a test run, Fund said. "Obviously it’s our first one, so we’ll learn our way into it and see what makes the most impact. We’ve been thinking about it for a few months, so I think we’re going to make a good show of it in February,” Fund said.

HOME BODY: Krzanich yesterday also suggested he would prefer L.A. over Paris to host the '24 Games, approaching a line long considered to be improper under Olympic rules that require sponsors remain neutral. “It’s just a very convenient location,” Krzanich said of L.A. “No matter where it is, we’ll be there, but certainly it would be a prime location for us.” Intel is based in Santa Clara, Calif. After the media conference, Bach said he was OK with the comments. "He was pretty diplomatic, and I would not take this as taking a side,” Bach said. In '08, McDonald’s was criticized after an exec suggested the company’s renewal depended on the IOC choosing Chicago over Rio for the '16 Games. Regardless, McDonald’s renewed in '12. Also, Greek Olympic officials were outraged in '90 over their perception that Coca-Cola helped Atlanta win the '96 Games.