COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Six of the 15 top-level sponsorship agreements held by the U.S. Olympic Committee are scheduled to expire after the 2012 London Games, while all but two of the 11 second-tier deals held by the Colorado Springs-based organization also will run out next August.
The International Olympic Committee is aiming for renewals with Acer, General Electric and McDonald's via a partnership that benefits the USOC, and the USOC is negotiating renewals with high-dollar givers Anheuser-Busch, AT&T and BP. Also under negotiation for renewal with the USOC are lower-level providers 24 Hour Fitness, Adecco, Allstate, Citi, Deloitte, Hilton, TD Ameritrade, Tyson Foods and United Airlines.
IOC pacts with Atos Origin, Panasonic and Samsung last through 2016, as does a USOC agreement with BMW, and IOC sponsors Coca-Cola, Dow Chemical, Omega, Procter & Gamble and Visa are signed through 2020. The USOC has a preliminary agreement with Nike for a renewal through 2016, and it's signed with Jet Set Sports through 2020.
"We are in discussions, and we're always willing to grow," said USOC chief marketing officer Lisa Baird, adding corporate partners "are the way we support our Olympic and Paralympic athletes, and the only way, because we don't have any kind of other funding."
A large number of sponsors needing renewal isn't uncommon for the USOC, which often gives corporations short-term deals that are more attractive in a tough economy -- Citi and TD Ameritrade signed in the past two months. And some companies might be waiting as the IOC approaches the beginning of the negotiation of U.S. TV rights for the 2014 and 2016 Olympics -- NBC's contract is good through London.
There's no disputing the impact of sponsorships on the USOC's bottom line. Most upper-echelon USOC sponsorships are worth more than $10 million over four years. P&G paid the IOC a projected $150 million to $200 million in 2010, the same year Dow paid at least $100 million to the IOC and BMW gave $24 million to the USOC. The Citi deal brought $30 million to the USOC, with Games-time advertising guaranteed on NBC.
USOC chief executive officer Scott Blackmun said the Olympic brand is "stronger than ever. If you look at our brand and what differentiates it from other sports properties, it's the values Olympic competition add that make us special. We're more than just about winning and losing. We're about fair play and competing to the best of your ability."
Partnering with NBC -- the USOC combined marketing and media rights for the first time in the Citi and TD Ameritrade pacts, and ditto in search of a wealth management partner -- enables the USOC "to create a package for sponsors that delivers what those sponsors are looking for," Blackmun said, conceding that "each sponsorship is different. What this does for us is give us another approach that we can employ in the right cases."
About the desire for new deals with sponsors that would extend through 2016, Baird said, "That's a goal. We want to keep the great companies we have, and that's a big priority. ... I don't think there's any rest in the Olympic movement."