‘Sponsors have changed the face of East London’

Lord Seb Coe has hit back at those who have criticised Locog’s stringent rules to protect sponsors, claiming the money from the likes of Coca-Cola and Samsung have raised has “changed the face of East London.”

Seb Coe

With just a little more than a month to go until the opening of the 2012 London Games, attention is increasingly turning to what many industry experts consider to be the most stringent restrictions ever put in place to protect Olympic sponsors’ exclusive rights.

Speaking to Marketing Week, Lord Coe insists that the protection measures, which include branding police to crack down on guerrilla marketing stunts and a deal with Twitter to prevent non-sponsors from buying promoted ads on Games-related tags such as #London2012, has helped change the area around East London in a way that “Politicians wouldn’t have done.”

He adds: “We’ve raised £700m in a very difficult market. I don’t believe those companies would have come to the table had we not been able to demonstrate that we would protect them and create an environment where they felt protected.

“Sport has changed the face of east London. Politicians wouldn’t have done that had sport not been the catalyst.”

Coe also argued that there was “no evidence” that there would be in surge of ambush marketing this summer, despite concerns that non-sponsors will flock to social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to be associated with the sporting event, adding that Locog had “created the safest for sponsors.”

“You can’t ask [sponsors] to make that kind of commitment to a six or seven year project and then leave them to the chancers who want to come in at the last minute and try and pretend they’ve been involved with the project.”

Earlier this month, Olympic organisers were accused of letting the Torch Relay become overtaken by sponsors such as Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and Samsung.

Coe dismissed suggestions that the sporting event was becoming over commercialised and says that people fail to gasp that sponsorship is “absolutely essentially” to funding the Games.
He adds: “It’s very easy and slightly lazy to say the games have been over commercialised. Sport is now functioning in communities in a way that it has never functioned before.

“It’s not just simply about Chelsea vs Arsenal at Stamford Bridge on a Sunday afternoon, it’s not just about competition. It’s about legacy projects, it’s about using sport to change the lives of young people.”

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