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Volume 25 No. 89
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IOC To Manage Paralympic Marketing Rights Starting In '21

Increased visibility of the Paralympics and an enhanced brand is the main goal of the IOC partnership
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

The IOC will begin managing the sponsorship rights of the Int'l Paralympic Committee starting in '21, potentially bundling those two properties together for all global deals. The committees caution that details of their arrangement are still under discussion and that it will not necessarily result in true one-stop shopping. But a package deal is an option, said IPC Broadcasting & Commercial Dir Alexis Schaefer. “What in the end the program is exactly going to look like, at the moment we’re still discussing with the IOC,” Schaefer said. "One of the areas, as part of the long-term agreement, is to look into how we can improve the relationship with IOC TOP partners, and can we make this a better and more seamless experience for everybody. Certainly looking at a one-stop solution is an alternative that creates a lot of efficiencies."

BETTER TOGETHER: In February, the committees signed a contract that extended their core relationship -- the co-hosting of the Olympics and Paralympics -- through '32, but also pledged closer cooperation to “increase the visibility” of the Paralympics and enhance its brand. IOC Head of Marketing Communications Ben Seeley confirmed the rights will be managed by the IOC but declined to elaborate. What is certain, Schaefer said, is that the IOC marketing team’s assistance on sponsorship will free up the smaller Paralympics team to pursue two key initiatives: 1) Develop more elite sporting events between the Summer and Winter Paralympics, and distribute them with broadcast partners; and 2) Help develop the sponsorship capabilities of national Paralympic committees. 

IN LINE WITH U.S. MODEL: Schaefer said most of the IPC’s energy in recent years has gone to developing the biennial Paralympic Games themselves, but the movement needs to be reinforced at the day-to-day level. “We need to ensure that this backbone between the Games get stronger, both on the national Paralympic committee side, but also on the sport event side,” he said. If the two bodies fully merge their rights, it will bring the global Olympic/Paralympic marketing world in line with the U.S., where the USOC already controls and bundles Paralympic rights within its Team USA deals. “I would say from a brand standpoint, the ease of obtaining combined rights should be very welcome,” said CSM Sport & Entertainment Managing Dir Dave Mingey. "It has been a bit clunky in the past to work through two separate groups for marketing rights and assets that were already so closely linked." The IPC’s worldwide sponsors include Atos, Ottobock, Panasonic, Samsung, Toyota and Visa. It has two sponsors at a lower “international” tier, Allianz and BP. The IOC’s global partners include Atos, Panasonic, Samsung, Toyota, Visa, Alibaba, Coca-Cola, GE, Dow, Intel, Bridgestone, Omega and Procter & Gamble.