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At the 2014 Winter Olympics held in Sochi, Russia, there were an abundance of sponsorships seen on event telecasts and across Olympic venues, as well as adorning athletes. Euromonitor International takes a look at the eyewear and jewellery brands which have sponsored the event.
2014 Winter Olympics Logo / Photo credit: www.sochi.ru
Eyewear brands have leveraged on the opportunity to associate themselves with high performance sports equipment. In 2012, Oakley was selected to be the official licensee and eyewear supplier to Team USA for the 2012 Summer Olympics held in London, UK. This partnership has been extended, with Oakley securing its position as the official eyewear supplier to Team USA until 2020. At the 2014 Winter Olympics, Oakley sponsored over 100 athletes, with them donning Oakley’s neon green eyewear, which is part of a special edition range: the Oakley ’80 green collection. This was first seen on US Alpine skier Mikaela Shiffrin.
Oakley Snowboarders and Freeskiers / Photo credit: www.oakley.com
Alongside Oakley, which is owned by eyewear giant Luxottica, other eyewear brands also joined in the Olympic fever to showcase their products. Safilo’s house brand, Smith Optics, sponsored athletes from across North America, Europe and Asia Pacific, while Marchon’s Nike and Lacoste-branded eyewear was on display as well. The top three spectacle frame and sunglass rivals are constantly competing for consumers’ brand recognition and money. By investing in selected licensed or in-house brands at key sporting events such as the Winter Olympics, companies further elevate the association of these brands with the same exacting high standards and quality the event represents.
Countries leverage on huge global sporting events to generate billions of dollars of domestic business. Take the production of the medals for the Olympic and Paralympic Games for example; Royal Mint (a UK manufacturer) was commissioned to produce some 4,700 medals for the London 2012 event. The medals today are mostly made of sterling silver, with gold medals further plated with gold. Experts estimate that a gold medal from the 2012 Summer Olympics cost around US$620 to make. While the Winter Olympics may not be on the same scale as the summer event, the number of medals required was 1,300, the highest number ever produced for a Winter Olympic Games.
Alongside lucrative profits, prestige is also conferred on the appointed manufacturer. Medals for the Sochi Olympic and Paralympic Games were produced by top Russian real jewellery maker Adamas, with it given the rights to use the following titles: “Official supplier to the Sochi 2014 Games” and “Official supplier to the Russian Olypmic Committee”. The company was also granted rights to use the marks of the XXII Olympic Winter Games. As a result, the company shrewdly launched a series of adorable Olympics jewellery items to reach out to a new target audience.
Adamas’s Olympic Jewellery / Photo credit: www.adamas.ru
While the event has generated much excitement, country event organisers often spend extravagant budgets on such events as a way of showing off to the world, and Sochi is widely expected to be the most expensive Winter Olympics ever hosted. While some believe these sporting events will give the local economy a boost, the boost is likely to be negligible for Russia as a whole, with final figures such as broadcast revenue and ticket sales still being tabulated and the future purpose of the constructed large venues very much in doubt.
That said, improved services may pave the way for future business opportunities and job creations. Similarly, international brands such as Oakley, Smith Optics and Nike will continue to build their association with such sporting events, which will be especially advantageous if they do not already enjoy strong brand awareness or were lacking in distribution in the country. For domestic brands such as Adamas, they will have to strike while the iron is hot and develop follow-up initiatives which will allow them to capitalise on their preferred status conferred during the Winter Olympics.