How tweet it is: Olympians allowed back to social media
Olympic gold medal runner Sanya Richards-Ross said: “I’ve been very fortunate to do very well around the Olympics, but so many of my peers struggle in the sport, and I think it’s unjust that they’re not being considered, that athletes are not part of the conversation.”
In response, the IOC remained steadfast in its support of the current rules and has argued that the month-long restrictions during the blackout are a proportionate way to achieve the objective of protecting the rights of official Olympic sponsors who together have contributed more than £1 billion to help fund the cost of hosting London 2012.
In an attempt to offset the impact of these restrictions, personal sponsors of Olympic athletes have had no option but to promote their relationships before and after the blackout.
Hugh Cafferky, director of Silver Hatch Sports, which represent a number of Olympic athletes including bronze medal-winning boxer Paddy Barnes, said, “We advised sponsors of our athletes not to be reliant on interacting with them using social media during London 2012. As a result, their main focus is on pre- and post-Olympic opportunities. The real fun will happen post-London 2012 for sponsors of those Irish athletes that have done something special and have a story to tell.”
When the blackout ends later today, expect the personal sponsors of successful athletes such as gold medallist Katie Taylor to engage in high-profile campaigns that promote their role in supporting their athletes.
At London 2012, the IOC has learned that the unique nature of social media means that it is practically impossible to control its use by athletes.
However, such is the importance of official Olympic sponsors to funding the Olympic Games, it is unlikely that the IOC will make any significant changes to the existing rules ahead of Rio 2016.
Chris Connolly is a solicitor in the Sports Law Unit of A&L Goodbody
Brnd new world: Sponsorship Perks
by RAY MURPHY
THE WORLD’S fastest man, Usain Bolt, is expected to pick up sponsorship deals worth about €50 million. In between sprinting and pulling his infamous pose, the prolific tweeter could be seen hydrating with a Gatorade or two.
Jamaican teammate Yohan Blake may be given a time-out by the IOC for wearing a $500,000 Richard Mille wristwatch during the games. Michael Phelps, the Games’ most decorated man, may be seen devouring 12” Subways as part of his 12,000-calorie day diet.
Other Stateside athletes predicted to win big in the endorsement race include Gabby Douglas (aka “The Flying Squirrel”), who is expected to make $10 million in the next five years. Jessica Ennis, Team GB’s Olympic golden girl, is expected to be inundated with offers adding to the brands already behind her such as Jaguar and Aviva.
Nike, sponsors of Mo Farah, were quick to capitalise on the distance runner’s success and in an ambush marketing campaign, which slyly coincided with the London games.
John Joe Nevin ought to consider hanging up his gloves before using his brand new Blackberry or iPhone, if either brand take him up on his tweet request for sponsorship.
There is some good news for Katie Taylor, too. She can relive her gold medal victory over and over again on her complimentary Sky box, while having a long conversation with the man upstairs (Peter Taylor) – Digicel will pick up the tab.