Olympic sponsorship: good or bad for your pocket?
Filed under: Your Rights
The question is whether the deals could leave us sitting ducks for some of these sponsors to rip us off or whether it'll save us a fortune in the long run.
Sponsorship rowThere has been plenty of bad press about sponsorship around the event. When the tickets went on sale, the disquiet started about Visa's sponsorship - because tickets could only be bought with a Visa credit, debit or pre-pay card. This row is likely to continue, as the Olympic venues are also dominated by Visa, and no other type of card will be accepted - even in ATMs.
Then there was the question of whether athletes would have to take to the podium in bare feet. Adidas, the official kit sponsors for team GB, insists no other trainers can be worn on the podium. Meanwhile some of the biggest athletes are sponsored by Nike, and have contracts agreeing not to be seen in any other footwear.
More recently, at the test event at the Olympic Park, the food was criticised for being vastly over-priced. With security guards confiscating all liquid at the entrance, buying a bottle of water may be obligatory when you arrive - and at £1.60 horribly expensive too.
The guards will also confiscate a packed lunch they deem 'excessive'. This is partly because of the huge sums of cash handed over by the big companies sponsoring the food. McDonalds is said to have spent £62 million in order to be the 'official sponsor, retail food services,' so they aren't going to risk the company's displeasure.
The government has even had to introduce new laws to deal with 'ambush marketing', which would allow people to show up to a televised event wearing a costume promoting a rival brand - for example.
Is this fair?So are the priorities of the sponsors being prized above the needs of those attending the event?
Not according to Lord Coe. This weekend he spoke out on the BBC, saying that two thirds of the Olympic Committee's budget has been raised with corporate sponsors, so without these deals - and the accompanying rules - the games would never be affordable. He added that "The taxpayer is the guarantor of last resort." So essentially he is arguing that unless we accept these deals, we'll have to see taxes rise significantly to pay for the games.
We have already spent a small fortune on the games. A recent BBC Radio 5 survey found that 64% of us think too much of taxpayers' money has been squandered on them.
So was there ever any real alternative to being bossed around by sponsors? What do you think? Let us know in the comments