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  • Sponsor Spotlight -- Sponsorship behind 2010 Olympic Charity Ban


    A red ball is the emblem of Right to Play. (Getty Images)
    Right to Play outside Village

    Don't look for Right to Play in the Vancouver Olympic Village.

    The Toronto-based charity has been shut out because of a major partnership with Mitsubishi Motors.

    "We fully support what they're doing, we were very encouraged early on that we would be able to have a significant relationship with them," said Dave Cobb, VANOC executive vice-president of revenue, marketing and communications.

    "They've grown as an organization, which we're all pleased about, but we do have to protect the exclusive rights of our sponsors," Cobb said, meaning in this case to Games partner General Motors.

    Right to Play, founded as Olympic Aid in Lillehammer in 1994, uses sport and play programs to encourage education, health, peace and community development in Third World countries. It is headed by four-time gold medal speedskater Johan Olav Koss. The organization usually builds an information booth in each Games' Athletes Village.

    Deputy director Mark Brender says Right to Play will have a visible presence in Vancouver, but has not determined what that will be. Right to Play did have a staff member working in the VANOC office briefly last year.

    "If it's a choice between running our programs or being in the Olympic Village, the choice is clear," Brender said. "We can't stop running our programs in the field so we can be in the village."

    Right to Play global partners include TOP sponsor Johnson & Johnson, Adidas, EFG International bank and Aegon insurance. Mitsubishi Motor Sales of Canada donated $480,000 on Sept. 18. General Motors is VANOC's $67 million auto sponsor.

    TOP sponsor Coke declines to comment on the ban; several others did not return requests for comment.

    Other members of the Olympic Family such as international federations, national governing bodies and national Olympic committees also have regular sponsors that don't partner with the Games; they're allowed in on the understanding that they keep quiet about the non-Games partners. Right to Play is recognized by the IOC.
    Nicole Cooke's prominent Sky gear. (Getty Images)

    British Cycling’s Sky Deal Irks Long-term sponsors

    The $94 million, five-year sponsorship deal of the successful British cycling team by Rupert Murdoch’s Sky broadcasting is already creating waves within the cycling world.

    Beijing medalist Nicole Cooke became the first woman to win Olympic road race gold and the world title in the same year when she took the global title in Italy at the weekend. Her racing top was adorned with the logo of the satellite broadcaster.

    But bike retailers Halfords, the long-term backers of the squad and potential sponsors of Britain’s proposed Tour de France team, feel sidelined by the new partner. Meanwhile, cycling insiders suggest the costs of servicing the Sky deal outweigh its financial income, not least by risking damage to the relationship with the terrestrial broadcaster BBC, which has long covered international cycling championships.

    IOC Rehires Adecco

    The IOC and Adecco announce the extension of the IOC Athlete Career Program until 2012. Some 3,000 athletes in more than 30 countries have benefited from the program since its launch in 2005. The scheme delivers career development training and job placements, facilitating the integration of athletes into the labor market both during and at the end of their elite sporting careers.

    “The IOC recognizes the value that these athletes bring to the world through their dedication to sport on a global stage. We were proud to first provide assistance to them with the launch of the Athlete Career Program, and we are pleased to announce the expansion and strengthening of the program with Adecco,” said IOC President Jacques Rogge in a statement.

    Sponsor Briefs…

    Indonesian state-owned oil company Pertamina will sponsor the 2008 Asian Beach Games. That will help with what IOC member from Indonesia Rita Subowo calls the "hardest part" of the event: fundraising. The roughly $2.2 million deal brings the organizers' funds very near its $21 million goal, nearly 80 percent of which came from the government. But even $21 million is about a 30 percent cut from the original games budget. "We've decided to reduce the budget. For example, we will use our own products in building the venues. This may not bring the Bali Games up to Olympic standards, but it will surely save a lot of money," Subowo tells Indonesian media. The inaugural event runs Oct. 18 to 26 in Bali.

    TOP sponsor McDonald's will try to expand central and eastern European operations with a $1 billion injection in the next year. Company president and CEO Ralph Alvarez made the announcement on Oct. 2 at a newly-remodeled restaurant in Poznan, Poland. "Between Ukraine, Poland and Romania, with more than 100 million people and thriving economies, all we have is 350 restaurants," he noted, calling the region a major growth opportunity.

    The CEO of the Haier Group says globalization gave his company the experience it needed to partner with the 2008 Games. "The Games have boosted our globalization process by linking Haier to the Olympic Rings and Spirit," says Zhang Ruimin. Some 90 percent of Chinese people now call the Qingdao-based white goods company a global company, according to an IPSOS poll, compared to only 47 percent in August last year.
    The cost of hiring the Stade de France is a major item but organizers want to avoid a move. (Getty Images)

    Gaz de France's departure from the IAAF Golden League Paris event leaves organizers scrambling for a partner to keep the meet in the city. The natural gas company's decision not to renew its 10-year partnership of the Paris event came as a "bad surprise," says the meeting's general director. If Paris can't plug the new $1.5 million hole in their budget, the IAAF may reschedule the June event in another country.

    TOP sponsor Lenovo held a reception for 25 U.S. Olympians near its U.S. headquarters in North Carolina, in conjunction with a civic group that works to attract sport investment to the area. The Triangle Sports Commission/Lenovo event on Oct. 1 featured a keynote address by USOC CEO Jim Scherr plus a silent auction of Olympic memorabilia.

    Qantas produced Australia's most positively-rated Olympic ad – ten years ago. The long-running ad I Still Call Australia Home topped new Games-themed ads starring Olympians Leisel Jones and Libby Trickett, according to an IPSOS survey.

    Written by Mark Bisson, Steven Downes and Maggie Lee

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