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  • Vancouver Picks GM, Wins Oil Co. Battle


    GM Place will acquire a more generic name for the Olympics to avoid running afoul of IOC rules on clean venues. 
    (ATR) While General Motors may be the new automobile sponsor of the 2010 Olympics, its name will come off the main hockey venue for the Games, GM Place in the center of Vancouver.

    This week the automaker and Vancouver 2010 announced a $67 million cars-and-cash deal. And while GM vehicles and signage may be prominent in Vancouver during the Games, the company's name must be stricken from GM Place under rules of the IOC that ban advertising in venues.

    Under a deal struck 10 years ago, General Motors Canada spent $18.5 million for the naming rights to the hockey arena through 2015.

    The situation is a bit similar to Salt Lake City in 2002, where the Delta Center, named for Delta Airlines, was simply known as the Olympic Arena. Signage for Delta was covered during the Games.

    "There are certain rules that we all have to abide by for those of us that were in Salt Lake and all the other Olympic cities," GM Canada's vice-president of vehicle sales, service and marketing Marc Comeau says.

    Dave Cobb, VANOC's senior vice-president of revenue, marketing and communications added: "What's beamed around the world will be the Olympic name, but certainly people in Vancouver are always going to know this arena as GM Place."

    The GM deal drove VANOC beyond the Cdn$600 million mark in cash and in-kind sponsorships. The bid book, published in 2003, forecast US $160 million.

    VANOC Wins Against Oil Company

    Vancouver 2010 won a Canadian-style Olympic family feud late last week following back-to-back news conferences in Calgary and Vancouver aimed at forcing Imperial Oil to stop its Cheer On Canada/Torino 2006 promotion.

    Imperial Oil's Esso retail gas stations are a longtime sponsor of Hockey Canada and Canada?s Olympic hockey teams.

    Customers were given a chance to win flights and tickets to watch the Olympic hockey tournament in Torino this February. VANOC claimed Imperial Oil was using its Hockey Canada relationship to pass itself off as an Olympic sponsor. Competitor Petro-Canada is VANOC's official gas and oil sponsor.

    Rather than go to a court of law, VANOC successfully used the court of public opinion, with Imperial Oil agreeing to drop the promotion hours after the VANOC media blitz.

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