Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 21 No. 35
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.

Brands line up behind Paralympians as those Games open this week

The 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Paralympics start Friday, and while it’s far less of a spectacle and platform than the Olympics, certain sponsor brands have given Paralympians a starring role in their campaigns. 


Toyota, for instance, sponsored 28 Paralympians out of its total global group of 54 athletes this cycle. Paralympians play a crucial position in Toyota’s “Start Your Impossible” initiative that emphasizes its mobility assistance products instead of its cars. 


Toyota also acquired presenting sponsorship rights to NBC’s coverage of the Games, which will include 250 hours on NBC, NBCSN and the linear Olympic Channel. It will be the exclusive auto advertiser throughout the coverage. 


In general, the Paralympics struggle with timing. Even though many brands have put Paralympians on nearly equal footing with Olympians in their pre-Olympics marketing campaigns, the majority of effort, money and manpower is spent during the Olympics in February, leaving a much smaller operation during the Paralympics two weeks later.


The event itself competes with the college basketball postseason, whereas the February Olympics had the sports calendar largely to itself. The Rio Paralympics in 2016, for instance, averaged just 143,000 viewers over 12 days. 

Paralympic Marketing Stars

■ Oksana Masters, cross country skiing, biathlon 

Sponsors: KT Tape, Visa, Nike, The Hartford, Toyota, Procter & Gamble

Agent: Brant Feldman, American Group Management


■ Rico Roman, sled hockey

Sponsors: 24 Hour Fitness, Deloitte, Milk,  Chobani, Comcast, Toyota, Hershey, Ralph Lauren, Topps

Agent: Patrick Quinn, Chicago Sports &  Entertainment Partners


Danelle Umstead, alpine skiing

Sponsors: The Hartford, Deloitte,  Comcast, Smucker’s, Toyota, Topps,  Ericsson, POC helmets

Agent: Jeannie Goldstein, Chicago Sports & Entertainment Partners


Evan Strong, snowboarding

Sponsors: The Hartford, Nike,  Bridgestone, Toyota, Smucker’s/ Folgers, Donek Snowboards, Topps

Agent: Patrick Quinn, Chicago Sports & Entertainment Partners