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  • Writer's pictureDistinction Agency

How Sponsorships and Partnerships Have Changed for the Tokyo Olympics

By: Natalie Downey

Historically, the Olympics is one of the most successful events when it comes to brands looking for responses from their marketing efforts. It provides a platform for award-winning work that leads to real, noticeable results. With stretched budgets and an unsure number of viewers, Tokyo is slightly different. This summer’s games present a lot of unpredictability, but also tremendous opportunity.

Despite COVID-19, the Tokyo Olympics faces no shortage of sponsors. In March 2020, NBCUniversal announced that they had already sold 90% of its commercials for the tournament. This total amounted to $1.25 billion, which is more than the total for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janiero. Tokyo attracted more than 120 advertisers, which is a 20% increase from the 2016 Summer Olympics.

There are several highly recognizable sponsors for this year’s games, including Coca Cola, Airbnb, Bridgestone, Asics, Samsung, P&G, and Google. In anticipation of the games, Nike, Coca Cola, and Adidas all launched products prior to the Opening Ceremony. The top 5 spending sponsors are P&G, Toyota, Google, Samsung, and Coca Cola. These companies account for 93% of all Olympic sponsor spending.

The Olympic Partner (TOP) Program, which is responsible for securing multitiered sponsorships of the games, is set to raise over $3B in the quadrennium from 2021 to 2024, up from $2B in 2017-2020.”

There are multiple tiers of sponsors when it comes to the Olympics. Specific tiers of sponsors are locked into multi-year contracts, which they could not get out of, even when the pandemic hit. Companies that were looking to back out of the Olympics could not if they were locked into these contracts. This helped the Olympics bring back several sponsors, including P&G and Coca Cola.

There are also a few big-name sponsors supporting Team USA. Polo Ralph Lauren is once again the official fashion designer of the U.S. Olympics uniforms. They also changed the theme of their website to support the games and are even selling a “Team USA Collection.” Ralph Lauren is also sponsoring a long list of individual athletes, including April Ross and Katie Ledecky.

The United States gained a new sponsor this year, Skims. Skims is now the official underwear sponsor of Team USA for this year’s games. In an interview, Kim Kardashian said the collection is inspired by Caitlin Jenner’s Olympic history.

Though sponsorships and partnerships were harder to come by due to the pandemic, the Olympics still managed to get several big-name brands to sponsor the events. Big spenders like Google and Samsung are vital to the success of an event as big as this, and the Olympics lucked out with the dedicated sponsors they still have. With a big showing of sponsors in these unprecedented times, the Olympics are in a good place for the future.

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