Financial crisis slows 2010 Olympic sponsor support

VANCOUVER: COLD-FX, the ginseng-based flu remedy, is the newest sponsor of the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. Yet the Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC) remains just shy of $10 million to reach its national sponsorship target of $760 million.

VANCOUVER: COLD-FX, the ginseng-based flu remedy, is the newest sponsor of the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. Yet the Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC) remains just shy of $10 million to reach its national sponsorship target of $760 million.

“We probably need three or four more entry-level deals to reach our goal,” said Dave Cobb, VANOC's executive VP, revenue, marketing, and communications, at a press conference. The minimum sponsor contribution is $3 million.

However, Cobb said it is harder now than it was even six months ago to raise sponsor revenue.

“We are certainly starting to see a chance in the marketplace now. Attitudes are a little bit different than they were…people are a little but more careful, but I think what this shows is there's still an opportunity for companies to take advantage of an association with the Games.”

Some have speculated that VANOC may need to sign even more sponsors, should the financial troubles of two major Olympic sponsors, Nortel and General Motors of Canada, force them to renege on their respective deals (although organizers have said the two companies plan to honour their commitments).

Last week, VANOC went on the media offensive to communicate the fact they are prepared for a deeper recession. A revised budget with contingencies to deal with financial challenges has been approved by the VANOC board of directors, and will be released to the public this week.

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