The Sponsors (Don’t) Have It…

A quick note about something that: a) I don’t have time to do right now; and b) don’t have the data to do right now, but that might provide inspiration for others…

All the talk about the draconian laws (and whilst IANL, I use that word advisedly) that protect the brand association interests of the Olympics sponsors to the extent of making unpartnered associations illegal, got me thinking about what a map of sports sponsorship might look like. That is, for all the Olympics competitors, what might a network map look like if we grabbed a list of *all* their sponsors and then sketched a graph showing: nodes (competitors, sponsor brands), edges (links showing a brand sponsors a competitor, with edge weight related to the value of the sponsorship). Would we see competing brands competing in the same sports, or across different sports? Would they favour particular teams, or events?

It strikes me that the list of competitors in the Olympic games provides a wonderful lens through which to observe a large chunk of the global sports sponsorship market.

There are a couple of ways we could go about trying to construct this graph: a) starting with each competitor, look up information about them to find their sponsors; b) starting with guesses at corporate sponsors, research them to find out which sportspeople they associate with. We could also bootstrap from a single, widely sponsored sportsperson – find out who sponsors them, look up who those companies sponsor, look to folk sponsored by several of those companies and then see which other companies sponsor them, and so on (a spidering process, essentially).

We could then start to look at a graph, maybe colouring it to see which companies are Olympics sponsors, and which aren’t – and as such, are presumably going to lose on the benefits of sponsorship over the Olympics period under “Rule 40″…

The link is to the US Olympic Committee: 2012 Information for athletes, their agents and NGBs

Here’s another take: the London Olympics “neutral” guidelines on Rule 40, which opens as follows: “Rule 40 of the Olympic Charter limits athletes competing in the Olympic Games from appearing in advertising during and shortly before the Olympic Games. This helps prevent ambush marketing which might otherwise utilise athletes to create an association with the Games.”

The limits, of course, are not there to maintain the sporting integrity of the Olympic Games…

PS (Could you imagine a sponsor telling an athlete they wanted them to fail to qualify to the Olympics because they had a comparing they wanted to run over the Olympics period featuring that person! Erm… no, that wouldn’t really work, would it?! Unless they were a past Olympian and were playing on having “retired” from competing at the Games…)

PPS I just had a quick look at the Terms and Conditions associated with the purchase and use of Olympic Games tickets (emphasis mine…)

19.2 Prohibited and restricted items

19.2.3 The following is a non-exhaustive list of restricted items which may not be taken into a Venue (LOCOG reserves the right to amend this list, generally, or in respect of any Venue or Session): food (save for baby food), alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages (save for baby milk and other valid medical reasons), liquids in containers of greater than 100ml in size, needles (save as required for valid medical reasons), animals (save for assistance or guide dogs), weapons (including knives), illegal drugs, other illegal substances, fireworks, firecrackers, poles, flagpoles, sticks, large photographic equipment (including tripods), bats, large umbrellas and other blunt instruments, motorcycles, bicycles, roller-skates, skateboards, or other types of skates, electronic transmitting equipment, flags of countries not participating in the Games, large flags or banners, horns, whistles, drums, rattles, musical instruments, lasers or any other devices that in the opinion of LOCOG may disturb a Session, objects bearing trademarks or other kinds of promotional signs or messages (such as hats, T-shirts, bags, etc) which LOCOG believes are for promotional purposes, counterfeit products, balls, rackets, frisbees or similar objects, large quantities of coins, lighters, advertising or promotional material of any kind, printed matter bearing religious, political or offensive content or content contrary to public order and/or morality, bottles or containers made of glass or other material, flasks, thermoses, refrigerators, large objects such as suitcases or bags, and in general any material that LOCOG may deem dangerous or that may cause damage or disruption to a Session.

Author: Tony Hirst

I'm a Senior Lecturer at The Open University, with an interest in #opendata policy and practice, as well as general web tinkering...

2 thoughts on “The Sponsors (Don’t) Have It…”

    1. @paul Thanks… there’s also a couple of pages on WIkipedia that describe some corporate sports sponsorship agreements. It’s far from complete coverage though….

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