Tag Archives: olympics

Why We Said NO to Sochi

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As many of you may know, Performance Research founders Jed Pearsall and Bill Doyle have been consistently attending & analyzing the on-site activities at Olympic Games for over 30 years.  In fact, Jed’s first Olympic event was “Miracle on Ice”- the legendary USA vs. USSR hockey game held during the 1980 Lake Placid Olympic Winter Games, where Jed’s Mom bought the tickets from a sidewalk scalper for just $25 each. 

Since Lake Placid, Jed has attended 13 out of the last 15 Olympic Games (Winter & Summer), with Doyle attending eight of his own.  This bi-annual pilgrimage has been a mix of business and inspiration, allowing us to provide observations and insights to sponsors worldwide, while also being reminded of how lucky we are to work in such a fascinating industry.

However, starting with the controversial and antagonistic laws against gay rights propaganda passed by the Russian government, we both felt we could not, in clear conscience, attend these Sochi Games.

Now, following weeks of reports of possible terrorism, U.S. Department of State warnings, reports of the near certainty of computer hacking against any and all devices brought into the country, and most recently the U.S. Department of Homeland Security bulletins to airlines warning of the potential threat of explosive materials being contained in toothpaste tubes, we are convinced more than ever that we made the right choice.   

Apparently we are not alone–  just yesterday TMZ reported that AB-InBev is not hosting its traditional “Club Bud” party at the Olympics, suggesting that the threat of terrorism is just too large even for corporate America.

While we are disappointed to not attend the Games, we are proud of our integrity that drove the decision.  And, we will always question the rationale of the IOC (especially when we could have been headed to competing bid city Salzburg, Austria right now instead of staying away from Sochi).  So for this Olympic Winter Games, for the first time in nearly three decades, you will be reading Performance Research updates (now tweets) written from the viewpoint of our couch instead of from the bleachers.

See you in Brazil!

More Links:

http://www.cnn.com/2014/02/06/world/europe/russia-sochi-winter-olympics/

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2014/02/sochi-visitors-report-hotel-horrors-dangerous-conditions/

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/russia/140203/6-openly-gay-athletes-sochi-olympics-russia

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Lack of Funding for US Speedskating Offers Huge Sponsorship Opportunity

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A recent USA today article highlights the plight of Olympic aspirants that struggle just to make ends meet.  Olympic short-track speedskating hopeful Emily Scott’s story is highlighted.  She has seen her monthly direct athlete stipend cut by nearly 70%, forcing her to take on the third-shift at a surgical supply factory and apply for food stamps.

Scott’s predicament is not an isolated one, however, as many other Olympic hopefuls are forced to live paycheck to paycheck.  Outside of a few skiers and snowboarders with lucrative sponsorship deals, other winter athletes endure the same kind of financial struggle as Scott.  The US Olympic Committee can only do so much for its athletes, and naturally allocates funding to the athletes with the greatest chance of standing atop the podium draped in gold.  Other athletes are left to fend for themselves as their direct stipends continue to decrease. 

The limited funding the USOC distributes to the lower-profile winter sports provides an ideal opportunity for resourceful sponsorship.  Funding sports like speedskating or bobsledding offer potential sponsors a cheaper method of becoming officially affiliated with the Winter Olympics that can do wonders for their public image.

Prior research conducted by Performance Research consistently suggests that companies who fund struggling Olympic teams hit emotional trigger points with consumers that make the venture a worthwhile one.  Olympics-related sponsorship is particularly good at generating good will, and companies who fill voids such as this one are viewed as altruistic and patriotic leaders in their field. 

US Speedskating currently boasts a 15-member sponsorship roster, but there remains plenty of room for any corporation looking to become an official Olympic sponsor on the cheap.  The domestic speedskating governing body has seen the money it receives from the USOC for direct athlete support cut by about $15,000 from last year.  This is particularly surprising because speedskating is historically USA’s most successful winter sport.  Not only will forthcoming sponsors be perceived as charitable, but their brand will also be associated with athletic success of the highest order.    

Before Tuesday, Emily Scott has raised $195 on her crowdfunding site, gofundme.com.  Since the USA Today story broke, she has raised $35,498 and counting.  This is a testament to just how impactful a new corporate sponsor can be not only to US athletes, but also to consumers across the country.  If people are willing to empty their pockets for an Olympic athlete in need, imagine their perception of a company that would do the same.

It is astonishing that additional sponsorship of US Speedskating is yet to emerge.   To any companies thinking about pulling the trigger on this type of deal: please fire away!  Opportunities like this to generate progressive public sentiment are hard to come by.  Our research suggests that you will not regret your decision.

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Army Pulls Out of NASCAR Sponsorship

The US Army, a presence in the NASCAR experience for nearly a decade, recently announced that it will no longer sponsor a NASCAR team as part of its branding and recruitment efforts. At one point the Army was a primary sponsor of NASCAR. They moved to Stewart-Haas Racing to sponsor Ryan Newmann in 2009. In exiting their sponsorship of SHR, the Army is effectively cutting its sponsor relationship with the motorsport indefinitely.

It’s big news made bigger by the fact that the move comes just days before the House takes up an annual spending bill that includes language intended to prohibit military sponsorship of sports.

The language in that bill is a result of an ongoing effort on the part of Reps. Betty McCollum (D-Minn) and Jack Kingston (R-Ga) to ban the spending of defense dollars on sponsorships (they’ve targeted NASCAR sponsorship in particular). We’ve been following this political initiative with our Sponsor Eye since Rep. McCollum took up the issue in 2010, and subsequently lost a House vote to keep the military out of sport sponsorships in 2011. You can see some of our tweets about it here and here, with links to Wall Street Journal and USA Today pieces.

While we can’t be certain that the bill is the whole reason the Army made its decision to pull out of NASCAR, we have a hunch it played a not-so-insignificant role. In any case, it’s an issue worth our two cents.

Let’s look at the Reps.’ argument: they assert that the approximately $136 million sliver of the defense budget spent on sport sponsorship is wasteful, as it doesn’t garner enough return in recruitment numbers.

Before moving forward, can we take a step back and look at some math?

The 2012 Department of Defense spending budget is around $707 billion (that’s billion with a B). At $136 million allocated for sport sponsorship spending, Reps. McCollum and Kingston are making a big fuss about a %.02 savings. And at only $8.4 million going towards NASCAR sponsorship specifically, it’s an even smaller margin. With government spending at an all-time high, going to battle over such teeny savings seems pretty petty.

Decimal points aside, who are two politicians with absolutely zero background in sponsorship effectiveness to say that military sponsorship of sport — in particular, NASCAR — is ineffective on the grounds that the recruitment numbers aren’t there? The Army has exceeded its recruitment goals every year since it started its relationship with Stewart-Haas Racing. But that’s almost beside the point.

Having been on the inside of researching military sponsorships, we have seen enormous opportunities and in some cases, very strong return on objectives —but maybe the Reps aren’t focusing on the objectives that really matter.

The goal of a sponsorship is never about sales, or recruits, or numbers alone. Putting a  logo on the side of a race car isn’t going to suddenly bring a spike in sales or enlistees. Humans are more complex than that. Sponsorship is more complex than that. The Army’s relationship with NASCAR is — or at least, should be — about building national awareness and an emotional connection with fans, and not necessarily only those fans who are in their target recruit demographic of 17-24 year old males. There are older and younger siblings, parents, teachers, and coaches who love NASCAR, and who influence the life and career decisions of those they’re close to. When the Army builds an emotional connection with NASCAR fans, they’re not only reaching the people who show up at the event. We’d be interested to see if the sponsorship effectiveness report that influenced the Army’s decision took the more emotional side of the partnership into account, and looked at the Return on Relationship that NASCAR sponsorship is best at.

When government officials recently questioned the value of so-called “junk food” sponsors involved with the Olympics we were left thinking the same thing: politicians should stick to legislation, and stay out of making calls on sponsorship.

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Is Touting Past Relationships at Opportune Times Ambush Marketing?

The Performance Research team always has sponsorship on the brain — even when we’re shopping for cereal! We recently snapped photos of two cereal brands shelved side by side at our local grocer. The sight immediately caught our “sponsor eye.”

Quick, which of the cereal brands below officially sponsors the Olympic Games?

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If you said Wheaties, you’re forgiven — but mistaken.

With a quick glance, it seems as if both of the cereal giants could be sponsors of the Olympic Games. But look closer. The Kellogg’s box has the iconic Olympic rings logo emblazoned on it, along with language (“official sponsor”) that ties them directly to the Games. The Wheaties box? Not so much.

That’s because Kellogg’s is the official cereal brand of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), and their Corn Flakes box is part of a marketing campaign driving home that official sponsorship to consumers. Wheaties, on the other hand, has no current official relationship with the USOC or the Olympic Games.

The re-release of past Wheaties boxes featuring Olympic champions at such an opportune time — leading right up to the 2012 Summer Games — could be considered ambush marketing, a tactic that can be cause for concern for those official sponsors (like Kellogg’s) who spend millions of dollars on officially associating their brand with the Olympics.

It’s a recurring issue. Olympic season after Olympic season, unofficial “supporters” of the Olympics elbow their way into the top of consumers’ minds as bon-a-fide Olympic sponsors by using ambush marketing tactics.

We conducted research during the 1994 and 1996 Games that lent insight into consumers’ perceptions of official Olympic sponsor brands. Often, ambush sponsors outpaced official sponsors (e.g., ambusher Nike vs. official sponsor Reebok) in terms of sponsor recall and belief that these non-Olympic companies were doing more than many official sponsors to support the Olympics.

More recently, we collected data after the 2010 Vancouver Games and found that ambush sponsorship marketing was still alive and well. In particular, Subway, who used Michael Phelps in a campaign leading up to the 2010 Games, was strongly associated with the Olympics that year even though they weren’t officially sponsoring the Games. So was Verizon, who used the U.S. Speed Skating team in ads surrounding Vancouver but had no official partnership in 2010. Full details of that report can be found here.

The topic raises a lot of questions: is spending big bucks on official Olympic sponsorship worth it? Is it ethical to lead consumers to believe your brand is associated with the Games when there is no official sponsor relationship there? We welcome your comments on this one.

Also, a challenge: keep your eyes out for all of the official and not-so-official Olympic campaigns going on this month.  Send us your pics, we’d love to see what you uncover.

Just as we’ve done since the 1992 games, we’re planning to conduct similar research for the 2014 Olympic Games.  As always, don’t hesitate to send us a message or ask us questions if you want to learn more about what we’re up to.

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July 5, 2012 · 10:54 am

The End of the Stand-Off

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) finally reached a new revenue-sharing agreement that ends years of international  resentment harbored toward the USOC while it allows the USOC to lift its self-imposed freeze on bidding for future Games, a move it enacted after the 2016 Chicago bid fiasco.

For decades the USOC has received the biggest slice of the Olympic dollars paid by corporate sponsors and U.S. television networks, an arrangement the rest of the Olympic community has resented, and, in turn, one that has contributed to keeping the Olympics out of the U.S. in past years. The new deal, which will begin in 2020, mends this rocky relationship by reducing USOC shares of The Olympic Partner Program (TOP) sponsorship revenues and U.S. television rights. The USOC has also agreed to contribute to the IOC’s administrative costs.

Without a Games held in the U.S. since the 2002 Winter Games, the U.S. could be in the Olympic spotlight again in the near future. As the majority of TOP sponsors come from US corporations — Procter & Gamble, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, General Electric, Dow Chemical Company, and VISA, to name just a few — this should be considered good news for future olympic sponsorship campaigns.

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Olympic Food and Drink Sponsors: Some Not “Lovin’ It”

Should properties only accept sponsors whose brand images align exactly with their values? Last week, the London Assembly gave their answer: when it comes to the Olympics, absolutely.

At their most recent meeting, the governmental body called for a ban on Olympic “junk food” sponsors — McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Cadbury, and Heineken were called out specifically — citing concern that food and drink sponsors who produce high calorie or perceived unhealthy food and drink products undermine the values of the Olympic Games, and could contribute to the growing problem of obesity in the UK.

While the London Assembly might have their hearts in the right place, we think they need a super-sized serving of perspective.

First, let’s talk dollars and cents (or pounds and pence). According to a study conducted by official Olympic sponsor Visa, the UK will receive a huge economic stimulus from the Games worth an estimated £5.33 billion — a number that could have been significantly lower without the sponsorship dollars paid by McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Cadbury, and Heineken, who all contribute to the Olympic Committee’s ability to make the Games a success. The boost the Games and its sponsors contribute to the UK economy far outweigh the possibility that their ties to the Games might persuade Brits to reach for some fries or a soda. We’re surprised that a governmental organization doesn’t get that.

And frankly, we don’t buy that companies like McDonald’s and Coca-Cola, who have received the most flack from critics, don’t exhibit values that align with many Olympic ideals. The notion that McDonald’s is nothing but a coronary-inducing beef patty and french fry slinger is an antiquated one. The global restaurant chain has made serious strides in offering up healthy options on their menu. More nutritious items — grilled chicken, entree salads, fruit sides, and low-fat dairy snacks — have been a big part of McDonald’s ability to succeed in the modern marketplace, and to some extent, may even have been inspired by McDonald’s early days of serving athletes at the Olympic  village. Those options will all be available for sale at the Games.

And Coca-Cola expects that over 75% of the drinks it sells at the Olympic Games will be water (Schweppes Abbey Well Water is a Coca-Cola brand and is the official water of the Games), juice, or sugar-free beverages. Again, the idea that Coca-Cola only produces syrupy fizzy soft drinks is misinformed.

The food service giant and beverage behemoth are also showing that they value the Olympic ideals of athleticism, unity, and excellence with Games-themed initiatives aimed at boosting physical activity. McDonald’s plans on giving away 9 million activity toys with their happy meals during the Olympic Games; Coca-Cola sponsored a “free swim” program in the UK in conjunction with their sponsorship.

And therein lies the real takeaway: McDonald’s and Coca-Cola know that an Olympic sponsorship is the perfect opportunity to drive home the fact that their brands can be part of an athletic lifestyle, and that as corporations they value the spirit of the Olympic games. Sponsorship isn’t always about brands selling the masses more burgers, sneakers, or car insurance.

Bottom line?: we think the London Assembly should leave sponsorship to the experts.

Oh, and London Assembly! It looks like Mayor Johnson agrees with us: Click here to watch a video clip of Boris Johnson inviting Americans to come to London to drink “fizzy drinks.” 

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PERFORMANCE RESEARCH-SURVEY SAMPLING 2010 OLYMPIC VIEWERSHIP STUDY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  (3-11-2010)

TOP LINE RESULTS:

PERFORMANCE RESEARCH-SURVEY SAMPLING 2010 OLYMPIC VIEWERSHIP STUDY

With the Vancouver Games earning high marks by the press for unanticipated and possibly unexplainable success, a study of Olympic viewers by Performance Research and Survey Sampling International settles the score even further.

The “Big Three” continue to dominate awareness of Olympic sponsors:

Consumer awareness of Olympic sponsors continues to be dominated by a small group of Olympic stalwarts, with just over two-thirds confirming the involvement of Coca-Cola (confirmed by 68%), McDonald’s (68%), and Visa (66%).  Most other official Olympic sponsors were distantly behind with less than half the awareness of the Big Three:  AT&T was closest (36% aided recall), followed by newcomer Procter & Gamble (27%), General Electric (25%), Samsung (24%) and Panasonic (21%).  All other sponsors tested achieved less than 20% awareness.  As Official Outfitter for the U.S. Olympic Team, Nike (worn by U.S. athletes on the medal podium) achieved 52% awareness, double that of Polo Ralph Lauren (worn by athletes for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies) with 26%.

Not surprisingly, the same top trio of brands was listed for respondents’ choice of favorite Olympic commercials.  Coca-Cola headed the list, with 19% naming (unaided) Coke’s “Snowball” ad as their favorite.  McDonald’s ads featuring athletes eating chicken McNuggets were named as a favorite by 11%, and a collection of Visa commercials featuring various Olympic athletes were reported as favorite by 7%.

The same trio of companies also led the pack for those, “Doing the most to support the Olympic Games” (Coca-Cola- 19%, Visa- 15%, McDonald’s- 13%) and for those “Best showing the spirit of the Olympics ” (Coca-Cola- 18%, McDonald’s-14%, Visa- 11%).

Ambush marketing is alive and well at the Olympic Games:

Although total awareness of McDonald’s sponsorship (68%) was more than double that of Subway, Subway was still associated with the Olympic Games by over one-fourth of the sample (26%).  Subway’s use of Michael Phelps in advertising related to the Olympic Games earned them some recognition:  Nearly one-half (49%) claimed to have seen the Phelps ad;  Among those seeing the ad, 79% believed that “Subway supports the U.S. Olympic team”, and 64% agreed that “Subway embodies the spirit of the Olympics“.

Although not quite as visible, Verizon, an official sponsor of U.S. Speed Skating (but not an official sponsor of the U.S. Olympic Team or the Vancouver Games) , also earned a level of Olympic association.  42% confirmed that they had seen Verizon’s ads using speed skaters.  An overwhelming majority of those seeing the ad (83%) believed, “Verizon supports the U.S. Olympic team”, and almost two-thirds (64%) indicated that “Verizon embodies the spirit of the Olympics“.   By comparison, just 35% claimed to have seen official U.S. Olympic Team sponsor AT&T’s ad with snowboarder Gretchen Bleiler riding through outer space;  Among those seeing the AT&T ad, a nearly identical 86% believed “AT&T supports the U.S. Olympic team“, and 77% agreed that “AT&T embodies the spirit of the Olympics“.

The Olympic Games are not seen as an overly commercial event, and there is a respectable level of support for Olympic sponsors:

Over two-thirds of Olympic viewers in this study (67%) reported the level of commercialism associated with the Olympic Games to be “Acceptable”; 27% believed it to be “Over-commercialized”.  These results are virtually unchanged from data collected during the Beijing Olympics, where 26% reported the Games to be “Over-commercialized”.

In a favorable nod toward sponsors, 60% indicated that they are “Very” or “Somewhat” interested in knowing who the sponsors of the Olympics are, and almost one-third (30%) reported that compared to the last time they watched the Winter Games, their overall reaction to corporate sponsorship is “More positive” than it was before; 62% claimed that it has remained the same.

Moreover, the majority (55%) agreed “Very much” or “Somewhat ” with the statement, “Corporate sponsorship of the Olympics, in order to keep the events going, is more important now than ever“.   A majority (54%) also agreed “Very much” or “Somewhat” with the statement, “Corporate sponsorship of the U.S. Olympic team, in order to keep U.S. athletes competitive, is more important now than ever”.

Just like sponsors, there are a “Big three” in terms of favorite Winter Olympic  sports and most familiar /  most admired athletes, but the leading preferred sports aren’t delivering the top stars:

Figure skating (51%), snowboarding (34%), and ice-hockey (32%) led the race for Winter Olympic events that U.S. fans are most passionate about, with all others mentioned by fewer than one-quarter of the sample.

But in a twist, the most familiar athletes hailed from less popular sports:  Using a scale of 1-10 where one means “Not familiar at all” and 10 means “Very familiar”, Apolo Ohno (short track speed skating) headed the list (with 64% assigning ratings of 7 -10).  Shaun White (snowboarding half-pipe) followed closely, with  62%.  Skier Lindsey Vonn was the top recognized female athlete (50%), beating Bode Miller on the familiarity scale (44%).  Rounding out the top-five was speed skater Shani Davis, with 41%.  [Figure skating gold medallist Evan Lysacek earned familiarity ratings among just 36% of the sample, and was matched by teammate Johnny Weir, also 36%.]

And who takes the gold for being the most admired athlete from the Winter Games?

Apolo Ohno and Shaun White shared the podium, with each being mentioned by 27% of the sample.  Lindsey Vonn followed with 13%, with all other athletes named being mentioned by roughly 5% or less.

NBC gets a gold medal from viewers of the Olympic Games:

Over one-third (34%) of Olympic viewers surveyed reported that they had a higher interest in the 2010 Vancouver Games than they did for the 2006 Games in Torino (53% reported the same level of interest), and almost two-thirds (63%) gave NBC scores of 7-10 on a 1-10 scale of “Excellence” for overall coverage of the Games.  The top scoring elements were “Level of advanced technology used to visually present the sports” (64% posting ratings of  7-10), followed by “Anchor host Bob Costas” (60%).

The USOC versus Scotty Lago:  The jury of public opinion is split:

Snowboarder Scotty Lago, (whose picture was unceremoniously posted on the Internet allowing a young woman to kiss his bronze medal below his waist) was seen as given a bum deal by leaving the Olympic Games after the incident, with 51% indicating that the U.S. Olympic Committee over-reacted to the incident.  44% believed that the Olympic Committee took the appropriate actions, and 6% reported that the USOC was “Not harsh enough”.

About the Research Methodology:

Performance Research conducted this study online among a national random sample of American consumers provided by Survey Sampling International, aged 18-65, during each night of the Vancouver Winter Olympic Games.  A total of  514 respondents were included in this study.  All respondents were screened to have been watching the Olympic Games, either on television or online; The average number of nights watched at the time of interviews was 5.

The margin of error for this sample is no more than +4%.

About Performance Research:

Performance Research (Newport, Rhode Island) is the world’s leader in consumer research and evaluation for the sponsorship industry. Founded in 1985, the company has taken the leading role in understanding the marketing impact of sponsorship, as well as the phenomenon of emotional triggers and passion points among sports and arts enthusiasts.

This is the tenth continuous tracking study by Performance Research on Olympic sponsorship, with the first series beginning in 1992 (Albertville and Barcelona).

Performance Research’s consulting and evaluation work affects nearly $800 million worth of corporate sponsorship investments each year. Custom studies include on-site event surveys, telephone interviews, online surveys, and in-depth qualitative focus groups that explore the marketing impact of sponsorship / advertising from the consumer perspective.

About Survey Sampling International:

Survey Sampling International is the premier global provider of sampling solutions for survey research. SSI offers access to more than 6 million consumer and business-to-business research respondents in 72 countries via Internet, telephone, and mobile. Additional client services include custom profiling, survey programming and hosting, data processing, sampling consulting, and survey optimization.

SSI serves more than 1,800 clients worldwide, including 48 of the top 50 research organizations. Founded in 1977, SSI has an international staff of 400 people representing 50 countries and 36 languages. The company has 17 offices in 15 countries to locally support your global sampling needs.

For more information:

Contact:  Jed Pearsall

Tel: 401- 848-0111

Fax: 401-848-0110

Email: jed@performanceresearch.com

www.performanceresearch.com

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Olympics and Scandal – What’s the real opinion?

It seems every time the Olympics roll around there begins to be a debate revolving around the purity of the event and the money being exchanged behind the scenes.  While many different opinions exist regarding the business side of the Olympics and how it may aide in a tarnished image, this is not always the case.  I suggest you take a look at the Performance Research Independent Study regarding the Salt Lake Olympic Scandal.  This independent study conducted in February 1999 really breaks down how the public perceives Olympics scandal and how it affects their opinion of sponsors.  You should  find the results quite interesting.

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Sponsors Still Live Dream Despite Scandal Nightmare

In a time when it seems that Olympic ideals might have been bought and sold, a new study suggests that the Olympic spirit remains alive and well with the American public, and consumers are no less willing to support sponsors which support the Games.

The controversy that is raging in Salt Lake City has left 40% of those responding to a nationwide poll believing that, “Their overall impression of the Olympics has been damaged”, according to a study by Performance Research of Newport, RI. Moreover, 57% agreed that “The Olympics have become all about big business and money”, and 62% feel that, “The Olympics are becoming just like big professional sports, filled with strikes and controversy”.

But is the damage all that severe? Only a minority (26%) indicated that they, “Have lost trust in the Olympics and what they stand for”, and 61% believe that, “The problem has been handled appropriately up to now.”

Despite the growing scandal, the majority seem to separate the Olympics (as a sport) from the business side of the Games. This is generally good news for corporate sponsors, which draw upon the image and aura of the Olympics to market themselves as leaders in their fields. Respondents were split on the issue, “My overall impression of Olympic sponsors has been damaged or lessened by the scandal” (31% agreed/ 51% disagreed/ 18% no opinion), but only one-in-five (22%) indicated that they were, “Less likely to support Olympic sponsors because of the controversy”. A majority (57%) believe that the current level of commercialism is “Acceptable”, and nearly all (85%) indicated that they “Welcome corporate sponsorship if it keeps the Olympics going”. The best news for sponsors: Nearly one-third (30%) indicated that, “A company’s involvement with the Olympics has a positive impact on my everyday purchasing decisions”– a figure which is almost identical to “pre-scandal days”, as compared to data previously collected by Performance Research following the Lillehammer, Atlanta, and Nagano Games.

Just 17% of those surveyed placed blame for the controversy on corporate sponsors, and surprisingly, only 23% believe that the Salt Lake Organizing Committee is most at fault.

So who is the anger directed at? The majority (59%) believe that the IOC is at the center of blame, and almost half (49%) believe that His Excellency, Juan Antonio Samaranch, should resign amid the allegations.

Performance Research  tested the awareness and attitudes towards the Olympics and the Salt Lake City scandal among 200 respondents by telephone interview in a nationwide sample during the first week of February 1999. The margin of error is + 5%.

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Value of the Olympic Seasons

Although the Olympics, regardless of the year or location, create a huge stir in both sports and business, it is apparent that the Summer Games and the athletes that compete in them are the clear bread winners.

The Summer Olympics not only have a longer history, more sports and more recognizable athletes than the Winter Games, according to a recent Forbes article, they also have a lot more value.  Coming in second on the list of the worlds top sports events, the Summer Olympics are valued at $230 million dollars in comparison to the $93 million dollar value of the Winter Olympics.

Besides Forbes offering these measured values for the Olympic Games, a recent Sports Biz article on MSNBC.com offered some insight into the value gap between summer and winter.  Using examples of sponsorship dollars for summer athletes and how their likeness is being used even in Winter Olympic ads (e.g. Michael Phelps), the article illustrates how much the Summer Olympics has a greater draw, with better paid athletes, more competitions and higher visibility.

MSNBC cites viewership ratings and audience numbers as a primary example of what the article identifies as a “comparative lack of exposure” between the two games.  The last Winter Olympics held in Torino had the lowest ratings for any winter games, trailing the viewership of the Bejing Summer Games by 7.4 million (both broadcast over a 17 day schedule).

The article raises all valid points when comparing the two events; however there may be another factor in play.  While most people consider the Winter and Summer Olympics to be two years apart, in actuality, the summer games are competed 2.5 years after the winter games, while the winter games are competed only 1.5 years after the summer games.

Sure the Summer games have had it’s fair share of super stars, Michael Phelps being a record-breaking (in all senses) example, but exposure and stars may not be the only reasons the summer games are more profitable for sponsors.  It may also be the longer you have to wait, the more you appreciate what you experience.

Check out the MSNBC article here:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/35085223/ns/business-sports_biz/

And for the Forbes Sports Values:

http://www.forbes.com/2010/02/03/most-powerful-sports-names-tiger-woods-nike-cmo-network-sports-brands_slide_14.html

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