Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 21 No. 6

Olympics

The U.S. Olympic Committee is sticking with what works for its primary hospitality and business headquarters during the Pyeongchang Winter Games in February.

For the ninth edition of USA House, the USOC is reusing a temporary modular facility it first used in Sochi. The blond wood-and-glass structure, created by Austrian company Hochsitz by Loidl, will be erected at the base of the Yongpyong Ski Resort, host to the slalom and giant slalom alpine ski events.

It’s within a few miles to the International Olympic Committee’s headquarters during the Games and other key mountain sports venues.

The wood-and-glass structure from the Sochi Games will be erected at the base of the Yongpyong Ski Resort for the 2018 Winter Games.
Courtesy of: USOC
The lightly populated resort setting is “a neat, intimate area,” said Lisa Kangley, the USOC’s director of meetings and event services. “We’re in close proximity to other national houses, as well as all the venues up there. It’s very, very charming.”

The USOC has operated a USA House at every Games since 2002, and corporate and national “houses” have become big business at the Olympics. Sponsors host theme nights, and the USOC entertains its own VIP guests, along with athletes and their families throughout the day.

In recent years, it’s also become a hotbed of social media content creation — a key point for USOC domestic sponsors, who can’t activate at the Games anywhere but the house. The house will be outside of the Olympics’ security perimeters, but access is by invitation only.

Even though it’s the same facility from Sochi, it’s being configured for a smaller capacity, Kangley said. About 160 people, including 30 in a private area, can fit in the 5,000-square-foot facility at once. (It was 7,000 square feet in Sochi, but that included shared space with NBC.) They expect 4,000 guests over 17 days.

Overall sponsor activity is expected to be down in Korea, USOC CEO Scott Blackmun has said. Also, the USOC is enhancing a domestic hospitality program it started in Sochi, hosting events in both Park City, Utah, and Lake Placid, N.Y., during the Games as well.

“We found in Sochi and here, because it is a further distance to travel, that a lot of our sponsors were asking for something domestically to enhance the program,” Kangley said.

USOC and IOC sponsors will provide product for the house, but the building’s glass walls limit opportunities for branded areas.

The USOC decided against building a Team USA retail shop inside the house like it did in Rio after assessing the cost and market potential. They’re still finalizing a catering contract.