PORTLAND, Ore. (TheStreet) -- The 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics have cost more than $50 billion, are being held in a highly disputed portion of Russia's Caucasus region and have drawn attention to Russia's record of corruption, its civil rights offenses against its LGBT community and Vladamir Putin's regime in general.
Sponsors must be psyched about this, huh?
With companies spending $100 million just to be a Worldwide Olympic Partner and an additional $300 million to $400 million on product launches and marketing tailored to the event, getting a return on investment this year is going to require a whole lot of gritted teeth and faked smiles.
As the folks at BuzzFeed learned through their noble but ultimately infuriating exercise in corporate public-relations boilerplate reading, the Olympics' top sponsors are going to use the most measured language possible until the Opening Ceremonies begin and the first games are being played. After than point, they seem to be hoping folks will just watch the games, see their pretty commercials, forget everything going on beyond the venues and, hopefully, buy some of their products.
It's a lofty expectation, considering the Olympic Games have never been played in a vacuum. Global events not only find a way to seep in, but have become fixtures in what's basically a nationalist competition being conducted under a thin gauze of global unity. The world doesn't stop turning once the torch is lit, which the viewing public and host countries have been reminded of on several occasions.
The markets don't stop either, which makes the corporate stake in these events all the more substantial. The following five companies make up just half of the Sochi Games' Worldwide Olympic Partners, but they play an outsized role in bolstering and marketing its events. Here's just a glimpse of what each contributes: