Olympics is a ‘Sponsorship Marathon’ with more brands in the running for gold at Rio

Coca-Cola, Nike and McDonald’s again have one foot on the podium as the potential big winners ahead of the 2016 Rio Olympics—but the competition for hearts and minds has intensified, ONSIDE’s latest leg of long-running sponsorship effectiveness intelligence shows.

The same level of admiration among the Irish public for 2016 Olympics sponsorship pre-games has been uncovered by sponsorship consultants ONSIDE as found pre London 2012, with 3 in 10 showing positive recognition of what sponsors have done so far around the games ahead of the opening ceremony this week.

According to John Trainor, Founder and CEO of ONSIDE, for some brands, “the Olympics is a sponsorship marathon, with a longer term game plan in play.  17 of the brands mentioned in our 2016 pre-Olympics research were also in the running for most admired sponsors ahead of the games 4 years ago in London.”  However, the field has widened considerably, with the number of sponsors singled out for admiration up 59% on London 2012.” 

Worldwide marketing and sponsorship revenue for Rio 2016 from official sponsors including Coca-Cola, McDonalds, Samsung and Panasonic is predicted to exceed €800m. Beyond this global competition for the Irish publics admiration, Trainor notes: “Sponsors aiming for a personal best at the Olympics in Rio will do so in the context of a renewed momentum in Irish sponsorship across the second quarter of 2016, after a slow start to 2016, when the number of reported new sponsorship deals fell sharply, the second quarter of the year has rebounded with a 35% increase in activity compared to the same period in 2015.”

The ONSIDE research has found that Coca-Cola are fastest out of the blocks in terms of capturing the Irish public’s support as sponsors of the Rio Olympics.  Trainor notes: “1 in 10 Irish people like what they are seeing from Coca-Cola around the games in Rio and in particular the 18-24 year olds of Ireland.  The global rights including the Olympic Torch Relay allows Coca-Cola to build marketing momentum ahead of the Games, just like they did by earning an early lead in our comparable research pre London 2012 Olympics.”  

The sectoral battles between Nike vs. Adidas and Visa vs. Mastercard also continues, with all four in the Top 10 in both 2012 and 2016 ONSIDE research. Nike are showing a slight edge on Adidas in the early stages of this years’ race according to ONSIDE, while the card companies are both neck and neck, as was the case ahead of London 2012.  Rivalling the global brands that also rank in the Top 10 such as McDonalds and P&G are Electric Ireland, the one ‘Irish’ brand registering at the top level pre-games. 

According to Trainor, “the Olympic games are a landmark event that represent a major platform to showcase the power of next generation sponsorship and the new role models emerging from Rio 2016 will extend beyond the big spenders to the smart spenders.  Half a million Irish sports fans and potentially more are ready to be moved…let the games begin”.