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VANOC reaches record sponsorship levels

Sponsorship challenges



By Clare Ogilvie

With three years still to go before B.C. hosts the 2010 Winter Olympics organizers have already raised $565 million in sponsorship.

This year alone the Vancouver Organizing Committee raised $120 million, and if you count sponsors’ commitments to ancillary programs the total jumps to at least $667.5 million.

That is the most money raised in domestic sponsorship by an organizing committee this far out from the Games, ever.

“We continue to be very pleased with the reaction of the corporate community right across the country to the Games,” said Dave Cobb, VANOC’s executive vice president of revenue marketing and communications. “I don’t think there is any question that other organizing committees and the (International Olympic Committee) are looking at the way the companies are getting involved here.”

VANOC is now projecting it will raise well over $700 million in sponsorship, that’s up from the $450 million originally estimated in the 2002 bid book for the Games. This money is expected to pay for about half of the estimated $1.8 billion operating budget of the Games.

Cobb said he expects to announce the air carrier sponsor early in the New Year and at least four new tier two sponsors, each of whom will commit in the $15 million range, in the first quarter of 2007.

Part of the success, said Cobb, is the way VANOC is challenging companies to think outside the box when considering a sponsorship.

“These companies are led by very smart people and they are seeing opportunities to advance their objectives,” he said.

“It is not charity. They are looking at what their big challenges are generally and saying, ‘maybe… getting involved with the Games can help us.’

“When you see a company like (Teck Cominco), and some of the others we are signing, they are companies that are not just looking at it to sell product, they are looking at it for a whole bunch of different ways that an association with the Olympic Games and Olympic athletes can be used to meet a variety of objectives that they have, not just selling product.”

For some association with the Games is helping attract, retain and motivate employees in a shrinking labour market.

“So many industries these days are in a fight to get the good people that they need so when it comes down to attracting, motivating, and retaining employees being involved in a project like this is really interesting for them,” said Cobb.

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