Business News Strategies and Opportunities in Olympics Sport Regions

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regarding the 2010 Olympics
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OlyBLOG is for businesses across Canada, especially in Vancouver / Whistler and throughout B.C. We also hope companies in Alberta and United States (i.e. Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and California) will find OlyBLOG interesting and informative.

CURRENT NEWS: IOC Censors Olympic Athletes

A BAN on BLOGGING was ordered by the IOC (International Olympic Committee) for Olympic athletes, coaches, trainers and support staff in Athens. If censorship didn't have such serious ramifications it would be laughable.

The backlash could be nasty for an already wobbly IOC and end up being a controversial blunder on par with former IOC president Samaranch's statement several years ago that the number of drugs on the doping list was too long.

The reason given by the IOC regarding the BLOG BAN was that BLOGGING would undermine the value of licensing agreements signed with television and other communication and media networks. IOC president Jacques Rogge issued the ban February 2004, but so far it hasn't been enforced.

I doubt very much the IOC is too concerned that BLOGGING will "directly" devalue television licensing. Television is and will be for a long time the best medium to experience the action of the Games and as such it stands on its own unfazed by all other media. It's more likely the IOC and sponsors are concerned about what athletes, coaches, trainers and staff will reveal about the inner workings of an organization rife with cheating judges, bribery scandals and rampant doping. Censorship is the real issue here.

BLOGGING has the potential to pull aside the PR sports curtain to reveal the Wizard of OZ. A similar scenario unfolded many years ago regarding major record labels and music artists. Loss of spin control, not revenue was the primary motivation even though record execs tried in vain to convince the public otherwise.

Whether sports or rock fans, it's the same PR model. The only difference is that BLOGGING can't easily compress a sports performance into an MP3 and broadcast it real-time online, at least not yet. But what BLOGGING can do is give athletes (gold, silver, bronze, PLUS charismatic runners up) direct access to the fan base - a fan base with only so much disposable income and time. The Olympic sport fan is heavily comprised of the 18-34 male demographic, a group that also spends more time on the Internet than they do watching television. Women in this demographic represent about 50% of the internet viewing share, but not necessarily regarding sports. Although in some Olympic sports they far exceed men in their viewership online, like figure skating for instance. Keeping an eye on the Games from the office is common for men and women.

If I were the IOC I'd be scared about BLOGGING too because if athletes do it properly, Olympian Fan Clubs could easily go big time. It would provide starving athletes a source of revenue through "B" line SMB (small and midsize business) sponsorships that never had even a slim chance of being on the IOC roster. "B" line sponsors can't afford TOPS sky high fees ($60 mil) and have been forced to sit on the sidelines at every Olympic event. It is now possible for "SOHO 01001 Software" or "Float My Boat" kayak manufacturing to have a shot at leveraging Olympic momentum. Oh yeah baby. Pitch it right across the plate. Homerun. Stealth mode ambush marketing on steroids. (You heard it here first)

According to the Associated Press, the IOC feels that athletes and their support teams should not serve as journalists. How inanely ridiculous. Based on that argument, what's next, preventing us from playing street hockey? Jogging would have to be banned too along with beach volleyball and a friendly game of pick up because it would water down the brand.

A BLOGGING battle will erupt if the IOC pushes the ban. The last thing the already tarnished organization needs is the wrath of athletes raining down on them - athletes by the way who are respected and worshipped rabidly by sports fans and billions of patriotic citizens. Athletes are the reason fans pour billions of dollars into Olympic coffers. In more ways than you might realize athletes can be compared to music artists who have been fighting greedy record companies for better treatment and a fair share of the wealth.

The odds of cashing in on a Gold Olympic medal are worse than the lottery when you consider all the kids out there pinning their dreams on one one-hundredth of a second in a race ten years down the road, not to mention their parents who collectively sink millions of dollars into training, travel and equipment. Dollars which could go to an education and offer a better chance at a better overall lifestyle. Ahh, there's nothing like reliving your childhood vicariously through your kids. Seriously . . . there's nothing wrong with the dream because it's better than getting in trouble on the streets, but if all these families are going to sink their life and their life savings into it they should at least share more fairly and equally in the bounty. No matter what the IOC dictates or tries to convince us of, the Olympics at all stages is a business as well as a lifestyle. Only naive sports fans miss this point.

Athletes starve so sponsors like Coca Cola, Bell and McDonald's can make billions of dollars riding their backs. BTW, should companies that sell unhealthy, fattening, sugar-laced products even be allowed to sponsor sporting events? What happened to truth in advertising? Do you really think Olympic Gold medalists feel good about shilling "Big Macs" and greasy fries? Is this the food of champions? Don't even get me started on Visa's highway robbery credit card interest rates. Is it possible to have an ethical Olympics the same way you can invest in shares of ethical companies? Since when did athletes have a say in what the IOC could or could not align with the Olympian credo? Without the athletes the NBC and CBC would be videotaping empty stadiums, which in fact they did in Athens so they should keep this in mind.

I don't blame the IOC for trying to censor athletes because once sports fans and the general public are privy to a more accurate depiction of what happens behind Olympic scenes the IOC could lose considerable negotiating power. Instead of censorship though, a better solution would be to clean up the corruption and share the wealth more fairly with athletes. It's time for a radical business model makeover.

Besides, it's not just Olympic athletes the IOC should worry about. The guy writing the following BLOG was supposedly a security supervisor in Salt Lake City during the 2002 Winter Games. If you want to get a feel for what it's really like to work security as an Olympic volunteer click here and scroll down to Random Olympic Memories. You'll be surprised, and amused. This guy does more for international relations than all diplomats in history combined.

The IOC censorship issue should be interesting. Stay tuned.

Scott GoldBlatt - Olympian & BLOGGER! Click here
Maritza Correia - Olympic Swimmer Click here
Troy Dumas - Olympian & BLOGGER! Click here
Reid Stott - Olympic Photo BLOGGER Click here

Maybe this is the kind of attention the IOC is trying to censor
ATHENS police used tear gas August 27 against more than 2,000 people who started fires, trashed storefronts and attacked journalists in downtown Athens. Read more . . .

Click here to let me know of other Olympic BLOGS

*Ed. Note: We invested over three years and a six-figure budget researching Olympic organization relationships with sponsors, contractors, suppliers, partners, etc. The results surprised us too -- mouseover below

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Olympic organizations are
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