This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
TheStreet Open House

You Don't Have to Be Olympic-Sized to Show You're a Good Sport

CHICAGO ( MainStreet) -- The Summer Olympics, which kick off this weekend in London, remain one of the most potent brands in the world. The competition between athletes from almost every nation symbolizes our most cherished ideals of sports: the thrill of competition, the power of perseverance, the bonds of national pride.

And yet, despite the focus on amateur athletes, the modern Olympic Games are also about money -- lots and lots of money. Sales of tickets and broadcasting rights aren't enough to cover all the costs that come with staging such a large-scale, multiweek event, so the International Olympic Committee -- just like every other sports governing body -- has turned to corporate sponsors to help foot the bills.

It is precisely because the Olympics conjures up such powerful, inspirational images that large corporations are willing to pay big bucks to be associated with it. For the London Games, 11 companies paid for highest level of sponsorship, The Olympic Partner program, which allows them to feature the Olympic five-ring logo in their worldwide advertising and guarantees industry sector exclusivity. ( Coca-Cola (KO) is the only beverage sponsor, for example, just as Procter & Gamble (PG) is the only one representing personal care products.)

Below that top tier, there are three other levels of domestic sponsorship (National Partners, Official Supporters and Official Providers and Suppliers). All totaled, the London Olympics Organizing Committee has raised more than $1 billion dollars from sponsorship deals. Although the exact agreements are confidential, it has been reported that some of the largest companies paid $100 million or more for the privilege of allying themselves with the Olympic brand.

But all that corporate spending has prevented smaller companies in the U.K. from latching on to the excitement generated by the Games. The British Parliament passed a law barring nonsponsor businesses from using any word or phrase associated with the Olympics in their signage or marketing (including "London 2012" and any reference to gold, silver and bronze medals). Hundreds of enforcers have begun patrolling the area around major venues, and violators can be fined up to ₤20,000.

Grumbling about the so-called "brand police" has led to the expected outrage over minor infractions (such as a butcher who was ordered to take down a sign of intertwined rings made from sausages). Even Prince William's in-laws were told to remove some Olympic-inspired content from the website of their party-supply business.

1 of 2

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
DOW 17,131.97 +100.83 0.59%
S&P 500 1,998.98 +14.85 0.75%
NASDAQ 4,552.7590 +33.8570 0.75%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs