SQN Blog-vent Calendar: 12. 2012 Doping Scandal – Will Sponsors Now Do a Runner?

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For many, memories of London 2012 will always remain in the mind as those of a glorious summer. A year when the nation opened its doors to the world’s greatest sportsmen and women and Team GB put on a spectacular show for the rest of the planet.

 

However, this week saw the publication of the McLaren Report, which confirmed that there had been widespread state-sponsored doping amongst Russian athletes who competed at the Games. This revelation could not have come at a worse time for the world of athletics, whose image, now like that of the London Games, runs the risk of being tarnished beyond repair due to the sports’ seeming inability to get a handle on the doping crisis.

 

But what wider implications could these revelations have for the Games as a whole? Will sponsors want to continue to be associated with the Olympics if they are unable to guarantee that they will be going into partnership with a clean event?

 

Let’s make no bones about it. The Olympics are big business in the world of sponsorship. Hundreds of millions of pounds are paid for the rights fees alone, not to mention the activation of these partnerships, with some of the world’s largest firms like McDonald’s and Coca-Cola having gone to great financial and communicative lengths to establish themselves as fervent associates of the Games.

 

However, can they continue to afford to allow themselves to risk their own image with an event that many audiences simply no longer believe to be clean?

 

Activating a sponsorship is more than just paying to have your name put on a shirt, stadium or some other form of paraphernalia. It is the establishment of an association between two identities, whose images must work harmoniously to support another. Here at SQN, we understand the nuances and delicacies that must be considered when advising or activating on sponsorship opportunities, using our many years of experience to understand when a deal is right for all those involved and more importantly, understanding when it isn’t.