Big Brands Big Business
With three billion people expected to tune-in and watch the 2016 Olympics the event provides the perfect opportunity for rival sports brands to market their merchandise. For super brands such as Nike and Adidas the best form of advertising is when their brand is worn by an athlete, preferably one about to climb the podium, and leveraging a deal with a national team ensures prime visibility for brands that can afford it.
Adidas sponsors Team GB while the USA and host country Brazil is signed to Nike and although each contract can vary the core aim on the sponsors’ part is to ensure the athletes wear their branded products both on and off the competition for the duration. However, this can at times cause conflict, for instance when an athlete is already sponsored by another brand, is about to change sponsors, or needs a specialist performance product that their team sponsor does not provide.
GB Track-and-field athlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson recently upset Adidas by wearing Nike trainers on the flight out to Rio. While athletes are allowed to compete in their footwear of choice, the contract stipulates that Adidas is to be worn at all other times throughout the competition.
Footwear is vital kit for track-and-field competitors, look closely and you’ll notice some have chosen to cover their logos using tape, paint, markers and shoe covers. While some are contracted not to reveal competing brands others without a shoe sponsor prefer not to give any free advertising, such is the importance of these deals. When brands offer sponsorship they provide much-needed financial support so they are of mutual benefit.
Hot on those big-brands heels Chinese sports brands have scooped up significant sponsorship and marketing deals; look out for 361 Degrees, Anta Sports Products and Peak International.
Additionally the games provides the perfect opportunity to launch a few tie-in products and for Nike that means a footwear line “Unlimited Glory’ (pictured right) directly referencing the Olympics, launched on the opening day of course. Nike are not alone, the so-called ‘biggest show on earth’ attracts marketing opportunities galore from sportswear to drinks companies, fashion lines to consumer electronics. The Olympics, is indeed, big business and it will be interesting to see who comes out on top.