Is a focus on money rather than sport is tarnishing the Olympic brand?

by Richard on July 31, 2012

Andrew Hughes: the Olympic Games are losing their shine

Your sport wants entry in? Done, but we tell you how that happens, when your sport is on during the Games and anything else we want, we get. Television rights in your country? Done! In Australia Channel 9 and Foxtel paid $126 million for the 2012 Games. That’s $51 million more than what Channel 7 paid for the V8 Supercar rights for the entire year, and more than enough for the yearly combined rights for soccer and basketball.

In their defence, the IOC is only taking advantage of market conditions and building a nice nest egg to ensure the long-term viability of the Games in case of a downturn. But stakeholders – sponsors – want a lot for their investment. The US television networks can change events that don’t fit in with their scheduling. Corporations who sponsor the games, such as Dow Chemical, aren’t judged on ethical and social criteria before being allowed to become sponsors.

Chasing the dollar is one thing, but forgetting the Olympic ideals in the pursuit of profit and stakeholder return on investment is taking the shine off the Olympic brand.

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Mark Byron 07.31.12 at 10:24 pm

I’ve got a soft spot of sorts for Dow, since I live in their HQ town of Midland, MI. The big issue with them was Bhopal, India, where a Union Carbide accident killed thousands well before Dow bought them out about a decade ago. Union Carbide underpaid in damages, since an Indian life in Indian court is cheaper than had the same event happen in a richer company. Had UC paid American rates per life, they’d have gone bankrupt.

Dow would have to do corporate suicide in order to do “justice” if they were to retroactively pay American rates per life with interest, essentially handing the company over to the Indian government to be divvied up amongst the heirs and survivors.

Outside of that, they’ve seemingly cleaned up their act in the past couple of decades. The running battles with Greenpeace and Jane Fonda are well in the rear-view mirror.

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