IOC boss Thomas Bach smiled contentedly at the press conference before the start of the 2018 Olympic Games in Pyeongchang: “The organizers of the Winter Games have a balanced budget in the amount of 2.4 billion dollars. That is a great achievement; after all, the Games were called into question for almost all of last year, due to the political tensions.”
The fact that they will break even at the end is, however, especially thanks to the IOC. According to the IOC, the subsidy for the 2018 Winter Games was exactly 880 million US dollars. This was made possible especially through takings in the millions from TV money and sponsors.
ISPO.com answers the most important questions on the Olympic funders.
The TV contracts and 13 TOP sponsors ensured that it really is raining money. In the period of the previous Olympiads from 2013 to 2016, the lords of the rings collected a total of 5.7 billion US dollars. More that 70 percent, which is to say, around four billion dollars, was for the sale of the TV contracts. About one billion US dollars came from the TOP marketing program. And the income during the current Olympic period from 2017 to 2020 will surely increase further.
With its broadcaster Eurosport, the TV giant Discovery spent a proud 1.5 billion US dollars, and then some, for the exclusive Olympic rights for all European countries, except for Russia, France and the United Kingdom, for the time from 2018 to 2024.
The US rights were sold off for 20 years until 2032 for as much as 7.56 billion US dollars. More than five billion people around the globe have access to the TV broadcasts of the Olympic Games in Pyeongchang. 450 cameras will deliver over 5000 hours of broadcasting time.
The sponsors of the Olympic Games are, of course, the ones most clearly in the picture. The IOC has 13 multinational giant corporations who have signed companies as TOP sponsors (The Olympique Partner) at the 2018 Olympics; that is two more than at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
The Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, who has concluded a contract with the IOC until 2028, and the chip manufacturer Intel, are newcomers. Added to these are Coca-Cola, Visa, Bridgestone, Samsung, Panasonic, Omega, Procter & Gamble (P&G), Toyota, General Electric (GE), Dow and Atos. Depending on the contract concluded, they may pay an estimated more than 100 million US dollars to the IOC for the period.
A curiosity before the opening of the Games: All participating athletes should have received a Samsung smartphone (retail price 850 Euro) as a welcome present, but because UN sanctions forbid the supply of North Korea and Iran with luxury items, the IOC was caught between a rock and a hard place. According to the principle of equal treatment, all participating athletes, which is to say, also athletes from North Korea and Iran, should receive these gifts, but this would infringe the UN embargo . Athletes from these two countries must therefore wait until further notice for their new smartphones.
Those who may call themselves Official Partners of Pyeongchang 2018 on a national level in South Korea are McDonald's – who previously left the category of the highest sponsors of the IOC after 41 years, The North Face, Korean Air, Hyundai, Kia, KT Corporation, Posco and Kepco. The organizing committee received further takings in the millions from the sale of 1,500 officially licensed merchandising products. A stamps and coins program also brings money into the accounts.
The ways in which sponsors are active in their commitment varies widely. Bridgestone is advertising through equipping the entire fleet of Olympic vehicles with the brand’s winter tires. In addition, the team has contracts with about 50 known Olympic and Paralympic athletes in Team Bridgestone. Procter & Gamble continues with their famous “Thank you. Mom” campaign, which places the mothers of the global stars in the center.
Alibaba is presenting innovative technologies in the Olympic Park and is thereby already preparing the way to the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing, China. But there is an even greater torrent of money. Thomas Bach: “The organizing committee has now already doubled the takings that it budgeted for in its bid.” The Olympics remains as a money-making machine.