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Olympics is About Business Just as it is About Sports

Jul 31, 2012

Business at Olympics
Olympic Business

Puritans will say that no commerce should ever be allowed during Olympics and only the true Olympic spirit should prevail. This is a utopian view.

As London Summer Olympics news report, there are protests around London against commercialization of sports. The truth is: the athletes competing aren’t amateurs. They are professionals.

Without sponsorship, which comes from private enterprises and national federations (supported by the taxpayer in many cases), the athletes would not be able to prepare and present a great show of their abilities. Instead, they would get regular jobs and take vacation time off to come to the Olympiad. This would result in mediocre performance such as running 100 meters in 12 seconds.

Yet, even those who oppose commercialization of sport, love to watch Olympics on television. The broadcasts are even becoming increasingly available on mobile sport platforms. But, no TV station would pay millions of dollars for the rights to broadcast these events if it would lose money. The only way the stations can recoup the investments is by running commercials.

Similarly, one of the ways athletes can gain access to top notch facilities and trainers is due to advertising such as having Nike logo on shirts. (Although these they can wear outside of the games, that money gets them to the Olympics). This is not ancient Greece. This isn’t even the first Olympics in the modern era which took place in 1896 in Greece. This is 21st century and the world runs on money.

As we watch London 2012 Summer Olympics, there is lots of empty space in the Olympic venues. Utilizing only a portion of that for commercial purposes would raise tens, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars. Thus, in a true Olympic spirit the organizers could donate this money to the needy.

The next Summer Olympics will take place in Rio de Janeiro. We propose that the organizers utilize the space by letting the advertisements in, and then spend the money raised to improve the livelihood in Rio slums. That is true Olympic spirit.


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