The 2020 Olympic games in Tokyo may still be over three years away but sponsorship for the event is well underway. With billions of people in over 200 countries and territories watching the games, the Olympic Games offers one of the most effective marketing platforms on the planet.
With some of the biggest brands on the planet including Coca-Cola, McDonalds and Samsung already working as sponsors and partners of the Olympics, sponsorship is extremely important to both individual athletes and the games as a whole.
However, why is it important that these companies get involved with events like the Olympics? Are they opportunities just to increase their own brand awareness or can they have a positive impact on the sports taking place?
What is the importance of sponsorship in sport?
A huge event like the Olympic Games requires a huge amount of logistical planning and sponsors help with the operations and organisation of these kinds of events. Commercial partnerships make up almost half of all the games revenue so their importance cannot be understated.
Some would say that an event of the magnitude of the Olympics does not need any more promotion but without sponsors, the games would not be as successful as they are. Olympic Speaker and former 1500m gold medallist Lord Sebastian Coe described it as ‘huge business’ prior to the 2012 London Olympics generating £750m from British sponsors alone.
How athletes benefit from sponsorship?
Some of the most famous athletes in recent years including Sir Chris Hoy, Dame Kelly Holmes and Rebecca Adlington OBE would not be where they are today if it were not for sponsorship opportunities. With UK sports cutting funding to the next games, then sponsorship for up and coming athletes is as important as ever.
Sponsorship allows people to be fully focused on their training without having to worry about whether they can afford to buy the latest equipment and training gear. With these things in place, it allows the athletes to concentrate on what they are good at, which is immensely important. More so than the financial gains.
How do athletes get sponsorship?
First and foremost being a talented sportsman is the main way to gain sponsorship. Athletes need to remain committed, have a strong work ethic and possess that never say die attitude to make it to the top. Having a strong social media presence and being able to connect with audiences is also increasingly important.
The fastest man on the planet and Olympic speaker Usain Bolt is perhaps the best example of an athlete who uses social media effectively regularly posting about his sponsorships. Sponsorships are a mutually beneficial partnership and can be extremely beneficial to both parties if done correctly.
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