Olympics Chief Rogge Says Sponsorships Improve as IOC Signs P&G

Jacques Rogge, president of the IOC
Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee, speaks during a press conference in New York City. Photographer: Mike Stobe/Getty Images

International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge said the climate for sponsorship agreements is getting better after the Games’ governing body signed its second global agreement in less than two weeks.

“The economy has not recovered at full but definitely the big crisis is hopefully over,” Rogge said in an interview yesterday in London, where the agreement with Procter & Gamble Co. was announced. “There is an improving sponsorship climate.”

P&G, the world’s largest consumer-products company, agreed to become a worldwide Olympic sponsor through 2020. The IOC and the maker of Pampers diapers and Olay skin products didn’t disclose financial details of the decade-long deal, which covers the next five Games starting with London 2012.

Dow Chemical Co., the world’s second-largest chemical maker, agreed on July 16 to become a worldwide sponsor of the Olympics through 2020. Other top-tier sponsors of the IOC include General Electric Co. and Visa Inc.

“Companies do invest more than they used to do,” said Rogge, a former orthopedic surgeon who competed for Belgium in the yachting competitions of three Olympics. “In 2007, 2008 and the beginning of 2009, there was a very cautious attitude. Most companies were holding cash, and did not want to invest. That is changing nowadays.”

The IOC has raised almost $1 billion in income from 11 top-tier sponsors for its four-year cycle ending in 2014, Gerhard Heiberg, chairman of the IOC’s marketing commission, said at a joint press conference with P&G in London.

Sponsor Search

Rogge said the IOC wants to add one more worldwide sponsorship.

“We will not go beyond 12 because otherwise we would start diluting the message and the activities,” he said. “We are discussing with a number of companies and there are a number of issues in the pipeline but still nothing finally confirmed.”

P&G sponsored the U.S. Olympic team during this year’s Vancouver Winter Games. The global sponsorship agreement will give the company better access to new markets, such as Russia, which hosts the next Winter Games in Sochi, and Brazil, where Rio will host the 2016 Olympics, it said.

“One of the things that P&G is doing is expanding our footprint into emerging markets,” Marc Pritchard, the company’s global marketing and brand building officer, said in an interview yesterday. “We want to eventually reach all of the world’s consumers. The fact that Sochi and Rio were part of the program really was excellent for us.”

The IOC is supportive of the sponsorship agreement between the organizers of the London 2012 Olympics and BP Plc, despite the company’s role in the worst oil spill in U.S. history in the Gulf of Mexico, Rogge said.

“Of course we are concerned by what has happened, this is a disaster, everyone agrees with that,” Rogge said. “As long as BP takes what I would call corrective actions for the future, and reparation for the past, as soon as they have the policy of the care for the environment and sustainability, we believe that London can continue to have them as a sponsor.”

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