Tories slam DCMS for 2012 sponsorship promise gaffe

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has been slammed by the Tories over its muddled understanding of Olympic sponsorship, which led it to promise £100m in private sector money.

The department has ad≠mitted it did not realise it had nothing to sell before pledging the cash to potential Olympic athletes in 2006.

David Wyatt, DCMS parliamentary private secretary, says: “None of this was understood in 2006,” referring to the complete lack of rights the DCMS has to offer companies looking to be linked with the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Shadow Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport Jeremy Hunt MP says: “One shudders to think what other basic miscalculations will come to light.”

Hunt is calling for the Government to “provide clarity about how the missing £100m for the 2012 Olympic training programme will be sourced.

Speaking in Beijing last week, Culture Minister Andy Burnham said he was hoping to raise the money through a new initiative called Medal Hopes. He was vague about details, except that he was exploring the possibility of selling the naming rights of some Olympic venues. Industry experts immediately criticised the proposed solution and pointed out any proposed deal could not start until 2013, after the London games.

In June, Marketing Week discovered that the DCMS had no potential suitors to plug a £100m gap in finance for UK Sport, the body that funds elite British athletes (MW.co.uk, 27 June).

In 2006, the Treasury struck a deal to provide a five-year £600m package for UK Sport to help train British athletes for the 2012 games. It was supposed to be made up of £300m from the National Lottery, £200m from the Treasury and £100m from the private sector.

The sponsorship rights connected to marketing around the Olympics are tightly controlled. The International Olympic Committee owns global marketing rights and its partners have sole use of the Olympic rings.

The London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games holds domestic rights and controls use of the London 2012 logo, and thereare different contracts held by sports’ national governing bodies and the British Olympic Authority related to athletes.

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