Growth, Sponsorship | Jan 22, 2015 | 2 min read

Timo Lumme, International Olympic Committee

New Digital Channel Brings Sponsorship Opportunities

New commercial plans set out by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) could spur twofold or threefold increases in the value of its TOP (The Olympic Partner) programme, Timo Lumme, managing director of IOC Television & Marketing Services, told Sports Sponsorship Insider.

Plans for the Olympic Movement’s commercial evolution, among other changes, emerged from Agenda 2020, the strategic roadmap instigated by IOC president Thomas Bach that was ratified by IOC members at the 127th IOC Session in Monaco last December.

Lumme has already set the price point for TOP sponsors from 2020 at double the existing rate per four-year cycle, and that could be exceeded, he said, due to the year-round Olympic exposure generated for sponsors by the Olympic Channel. The Olympic Channel is a digital broadcast platform aimed at keeping the Olympics in the news around the year and engaging youth and athletes; it will initially be internet-only and will show news, events and historical Olympic footage from the IOC archives. Coverage will also include qualifying tournaments and Olympic test events.

The channel is expected to generate at least €19 million per year from sales of broadcast rights and sales of advertising inventory to TOP sponsors, however Lumme said that the extra value derived from TOP and broadcast rights will be much higher than this figure.

“The opportunity is there to create value for sponsors and broadcasters with a new asset that gives year-round association with the Olympics. It will offer TOP sponsors a global engagement platform and is a compelling proposition on a B2B or B2C level,” he said.

On a B2B level, companies supporting the Olympic Channel’s digital infrastructure could get technology showcase opportunities or “technology supplier” status. This could be with existing TOP sponsors, as well as other potential suppliers. The opportunity to market or showcase the association will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

There is also potential for B2B partners to tell the story of their contribution to the Olympic Movement through featured content. In the short term, Olympic Channel deals will be tacked on to existing TOP deals.

“Ultimately, in the fullness of time, when a TOP sponsor comes on board, a gateway into the Olympic Channel will be included in the overall rights-fees,” Lumme added.

Lumme will meet with TOP sponsors at the end of January for one-to-one discussions on Olympic Agenda 2020 plans, specifically on the Olympic Channel and its exploitation.

“The basic notion is that we will work backwards from the sponsors’ objectives,” Lumme said. “This can’t be a push-type programme, a take-it-or-leave-it. Although there will be an element of standardisation [in the package], there will also be a large element of customisation or co-creation with the sponsor.”

By Matthew Glendinning, Editor, Sports Sponsorship Insider

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