Following the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, athletes such as Ellie Simmonds, Jonnie Peacock, Jessica Ennis and Mo Farrah reasonably look forward to signing a number of sponsorship deals in the near-future (and are already doing so). However, Lucien Boyer, global CEO and President of Havas Sports and Entertainment has told The Drum that Olympic athletes should focus on how those deals can extend the life of their high visibility.
'London 2012 has created an unprecedented situation for Olympic athlete sponsorship in the UK because there are so many medalists who now have a huge public profile. This means brands and potential sponsors will have a wider range of post-Olympic options than ever before,” explained Boyer.
"In the short-term London 2012 sponsors such as BP, BMW & EDF are likely to work with athletes to emphasise the support they have given the Games and capitalise on some of the after-glow of its success. I'm sure, for example, BT, Sainsbury's and Channel 4 will all be very keen to be associated with Paralympic medal winners to highlight their role in promoting and supporting the Paralympics. In some cases this might mean some athletes get extensions to existing contracts.”
Boyer added that he also expected to see brands rolling out above-the-line deals, at considerable cost, while using the biggest name stars within the coming weeks, following the example set by Virgin Media and their use of Farrah.
“Some of the athletes with lower profiles will also find there are one-off opportunities to work with brands on PR events, regionally focused activity and at internal company functions for smaller amounts of money.
'Both brands and athletes should be developing long-term, meaningful relationships, based on shared values, if they want an association to be successful. The Olympic buzz won't last for ever so athletes should consider how a brand can help them sustain their profile in a way that compliments their day job.
'Likewise brands won't want to be accused of cashing-in on the Games with short-term deals - nor will they want to be associated with a star that burns brightly but then fizzles out. The smart brands will already be thinking about what established stars they can sign-up until Rio 2016 and how they can identify and secure the next generation of talent.”
Boyer concluded by advising that brands and athletes should approach their post-Games planning ‘with the same rigour and energy as the build-up to London 2012’ in order that they are able to make the most of the opportunities and tell a meaningful story.