Marketing of olympic games-success or end of the olympic spirit

Por: Robin Kaelher.

Athens 2004: Pre-olympic Congress

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Introduction

Obviously there are some indication for the fact that the International and National Olympic Committees (IOC/NOC), the Olympic cities and even the producer of Olympic sports take more or less the Olympic Games for their own- mostly economical- profit (city marketing, personal and business profit, viewing figures). But the Olympic Games have their own origins in the performance of the Olympic spirit as an especially philosophy of life (Olympic Charta). That’s the only reason they exist. Is it possible (and how far) to save the Olympic spirit in spite of the progressive commercialisation of the Olympic Games? It seems not realistic to believe that this development of profit will be finished very soon. Therefore the question should be how can Olympic spirit be integrated in a special conception of Olympic marketing? The social idea must fit in system of efficiency and markets and in a context of global sportevents and big industry of entertainment. On the other hand the commercial success and the future of the Olympic Games are absolutely dependent on the value and authenticity of the Olympic spirit. The competitive advantage of the Olympic Games will only continue to exist through the Olympic spirit as an added value.

Methods

The current situation and problems can be explained within the framework of an franchising-trade model and a theory of marketing (1). IOC/NOC can be described by franchisor, the Olympic cities by franchisees. The analysis of the rules and instructions for the Olympic cities and the conception of marketing discover the importance of the Olympic spirit in the mind of IOC/NOC. On the other hand the conceptions of marketing of the Olympic cities will discover the different interests of the involved institutions and persons and their estimation of the Olympic spirit. The objects of investigation are the ten German application cities which applies for the Olympic games 2012. One case- the application of Kiel City- was especially researched by following methods: interviews, participating observation, analysis of documents, written survey.

Results

The IOC/NOC do not lay down very exactly and do not provide the Olympic spirit with a high value in its introduction rules. From franchisee point of view it seem to be the most important thing to organize a magnificent global sportevent. The strong absence of obligation of the Olympic spirit lead to several problems: to a intensive commercial marketing which doesn’t fit to Olympia, low emotional identification of the population with the Olympic games in the city and country, minor substantial development of the Olympic spirit and at least low commercial and sporting success.

Discussion / Conclusions

To save the future of the Olympic spirit, the value of the Olympic games and their profit the IOC/NOC must take more notice of the Olympic spirit within their rules, instructions, conceptions of marketing and during the Olympic games. They have to build up a product "Olympic games" which its added value gains only out of the uniqueness of the Olympic spirit. Otherwise the attractiveness of the Olympic Games may be at risk.

References

  1. Kotler,P./Bliemel,F.(2001). Marketing-Managment,.Stuttgart:Schaeffer-Poeschel

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