Firms May Buy International Rights for Olympics : IOC Unveils ’88 Sponsorship Plan

Times Staff Writer

The International Olympic Committee said Monday that it has developed a new Olympic sponsorship program designed to enable companies to become international Olympic sponsors without the burden of separately negotiating with national Olympic committees around the globe.

The program will offer worldwide, exclusive sponsorships for 44 categories of products and services. Companies that buy such sponsorships will be entitled to use the Olympic name and logo in at least 100 of the 161 countries represented on the International Olympic Committee, IOC officials told a press conference here.

They predicted that the new program will increase interest in such multinational sponsorships--and increase Olympic revenue--by eliminating logistical difficulties for companies that wished to advertise their Olympic affiliations in several countries.

Officials of ISL Marketing AG, a Swiss-based marketing firm that has been hired to administer the program, said they believe that it will raise more than the $150 million that was generated by all licensing and sponsorship deals for the 1984 Los Angeles Games.


Donald R. Keogh, president of Coca-Cola Co., said that, although an association with the Olympics is “every worldwide marketer’s dream,” the growing cost and effort required to line up international sponsorships have been a “somewhat disturbing trend.”

Company sources said Coca-Cola, the first company to sign up as a sponsor under the new program, will spend about $15 million on its sponsorship of the 1988 Games in Calgary, Canada, and Seoul, South Korea. It spent $15 million to sponsor the 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles.

Dozen Firms Near Agreements

Eastman Kodak also has been signed as a worldwide sponsor, and about a dozen other firms are close to reaching agreement for such affiliations, said Juergen Lenz, executive vice president of ISL Marketing.


The International Olympic Committee’s program also will handle worldwide sponsorships for such products and services as investment banking, mineral water, computer equipment, credit cards, soup and vitamins.

The national Olympic committees will retain rights to sell domestic sponsorships in other areas. For example, the U.S. Olympic Committee already has sold 1988 Olympic sponsorships to McDonald’s in the fast-food category, while Buick has been named sponsor for automobiles and Uniroyal for tires, a spokesman said. He noted that the national Olympic committees will be given back the right to sell sponsorships in the 44 worldwide sponsorship categories if ISL does not find sponsors.

George D. Miller, executive director of the U.S. Olympic Committee, said he expects about 25% of the projected $115-million cost of the USOC’s 1988 Olympic effort will come from the worldwide sponsorship program. Another 35% to 45% will come from domestic sponsorships; the remaining funds are expected to come from donations and sale of television rights, the spokesman said.

About 100 countries have agreed to participate in the program, Olympic officials said, while most of the remaining 61 have yet reached no decision. So far, Greece has declined to participate, which it did without citing a reason.


Olympic officials said the worldwide sponsorship program, with its uniform contracts, would eliminate conflicts that have sometimes arisen between national Olympics committees and sponsors, such as how many of the sponsor’s products could be advertised using Olympics emblems.