London 2012 raising a billion despite credit crunch

Bob Harris

Last updated 10/28/2008 8:57:31 AM

The International Olympic Committee believes they are safe against the Credit Crunch sweeping the governments of the world.

They claim they are still on course to raise in excess of $1 billion (£609 million) in sponsorship for the London 2012 Games despite the current economic climate.

Some of the top-tier sponsors linked to the Olympic Games such as Visa have warned they are not immune to the crisis but the IOC claimed any effect would not trickle down to their global deals with the companies.

Gerhard Heiberg, the head of the IOC's Marketing Commission, said: "I don't think the crisis will affect the IOC. I think we are in good shape."

Direct IOC broadcasting and sponsorship revenues for the period 2005-2008 were around $3.5 billion, (£2.1 billion) with some $866 million (£527 million) of that coming from its TOP sponsorship programme which includes companies like Coca-Cola, Visa, Panasonic, McDonald's and Samsung.

Heiberg said top sponsors revenues will continue to grow and exceed the $1 billion (£609 million) mark for the 2009-2012 quadrennium, a period which also includes the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and the first ever Youth Olympics in Singapore, an increase of about 15 per cent from the previous four years.

He added: "I have said that for the [2012] programme we will pass one billion dollars and that is still my aim. "

The figures quoted are in addition to the £600 million to £700 million that London 2012 is seeking to raise from local sponsors to finance the staging of the Games.

Heiberg said: "We are talking to some companies to become TOP sponsors. These talks are taking a little longer than usual and that is a result of the financial situation.

"We want between 10 and 12 [sponsors] by 2012 and we currently have nine."

IOC President Jacques Rogge has assured Vancouver and London, hosts of the 2010 Winter and the 2012 Summer Games respectively, that they would not be severely affected by the financial crisis.

The host of the 2016 Games, for which major sponsor and broadcasting deals have yet to be negotiated, will be elected next year.

IOC revenues from broadcasting and new media rights for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games and London 2012 Olympics have already risen nearly 50 per cent from the previous two Games package of Beijing and Turin, and will be about $3.8 billion (£2.3 billion).

A sharper than expected rise in viewers during this summer's Beijing Olympics, facilitated greatly through several new media deals, has further boosted the IOC's confidence and Heiberg added: "We are in good condition and are   on track to meet our aims."

The IOC has currently nine top-tier sponsors with at least one more set to join.