(Winter Olympics sponsorships article updated to include the announcement of BP as a major sponsor of the United State Olympic Committee.)
NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- U.S. athletes aren't the only ones desperate to grab the gold at the upcoming Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver. The corporate sponsors throwing their money behind the athletes are, of course, also hoping to come out winners.
Still, Olympic sponsorships were harder to come by this year, as many traditional partners, struggling amid the recession, were forced to abandon their Olympic marketing efforts. Such big-named sponsors as Home Depot (HD), General Motors, Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) and Bank of America (BAC) chose to skip the games this year.
Most notably, the U.S. Olympic speed skating team found itself struggling to pay for practice ice time when sponsor Deutsche Bank broke its four-year contract, worth $350,000 a year to the team. Luckily for them, comedian Stephen Colbert raised $300,000 in donations to send the team to the Olympic Games.Still, there are numerous companies continuing to pitch in for the Olympic cause -- and garner a bit of goodwill while doing so. Case in point: on Monday, during the height of the Olympics' first-weekend buzz, the United States Olympic Committee announced that it had signed petroleum company BP (HD) to a multimillion dollar sponsorship of the team. The contract is scheduled to run through 2012. Read on to see the many other publicly traded companies you'll be seeing in Vancouver in the coming weeks....
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