The Olympic Partner (TOP) Programme
The Olympic Partner Programme (TOP), established by the International Olympic Committee in 1985, is a category exclusive programme for global companies to become one of the main providers for the Olympic Games.
Originally intended to be a group of 12, the 14 sponsors invest a total of around $100 million (£77.5 million/€85.5 million) each to obtain the highest level of Olympic sponsorship.
IOC President Thomas Bach highly regards the partnerships and said their contributions “are critical for the staging of the Olympic Games and their global reach and understanding help us communicate the Olympic values to people around the world”.
Exclusive product or service category: Cloud services and E-commerce platform services
The Chinese e-commerce company, Alibaba, became a TOP partner with the Olympic Games at the beginning of 2017. After negotiations with IOC President Thomas Bach, founder Jack Ma secured a 12-year contract reportedly worth $800 million (£660 million/€718 million). Alibaba’s chief marketing officer Chris Tung proposed the company’s intentions were to “digitally transform the Games” with talk of enhancing spectator experience by including facial recognition, travel guidance and re-imagined e-commerce capabilities into the 16-day-long sporting event. Overall, it wishes to use their technology in order to modernise the Games by making them more secure, efficient and cost-effective. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Alibaba posted a 30 per cent year-on-year uptick in revenue for the three months to September, increasing from CNY119 billion (£13.6 billion/$18 billion/€15.1 billion) to CNY155.1 billion (£17.8 billion/$23.4 billion/€19.7 billion).
Exclusive product or service category: Unique accommodation products, unique experiences services and Olympian Experiences services.
Airbnb became the 14th sponsor to join the TOP programme when it secured a nine-year deal worth $500 million (£386 million/€452 million) with the IOC in 2019. Founded in 2008, the San Francisco-based company believes the deal is designed to create a “new standard for hosting that will be a win for host cities, a win for spectators and fans, and a win for athletes”. Hundreds of thousands of new Airbnb hosts are set to provide accommodation for the next five Games until 2028. A key part of the sponsorship includes the launch of Airbnb Olympian Experiences, where travellers will be given the opportunity to train with elite athletes or explore a city with them. After a difficult period caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Airbnb’s revenue for the third quarter of 2020 was four times the $334.8 million (£248 million/€278 million) gained in the three months to June at $1.34 billion (£992 million/€1.11 billion).
Exclusive product or service category: Information technology
Atos has been the official provider of information technology for the Olympic Games since 2001 and extended its contract to 2024. The French IT company has been at the head of a movement towards ensuring the Games are fully connected, secure and digitally enabled, making history at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang in South Korea which marked the first time that all the Games’ critical IT systems were remotely managed and hosted on Atos’ cloud. The company is responsible for covering everything from accreditations, sports entries and qualifications to the IOC’s volunteer portal and the distribution of results in real time.
Exclusive product or service category: Tyres, certain tyre and automotive vehicle services, self-propelled bicycles, seismic isolation bearings and a variety of diversified products
Bridgestone has been part of the TOP programme since 2014 and continue to develop its ties with the IOC following the announcement of them becoming the first founding partner of the Olympic Channel in 2016. The company’s involvement in the TOP programme grants them the exclusivity of being the official provider of tyres, certain tyre and automotive vehicle services, self-propelled bicycles, seismic isolation bearings and a variety of other diversified products for the Games. With the company ideology of “chase your dream”, Bridgestone’s aim is to inspire people to achieve goals in the face of adversity, a motto they amplify through the platform of the Olympics. Its sponsorship deal is due to end in 2024.
Exclusive product or service category: Non-alcoholic beverages
Coca-Cola, as the world’s leading manufacturer, marketer and distributor of non-alcoholic beverages, have sponsored the Olympic Games since 1928, making its marketing debut at the event in Amsterdam. In 2019, the drinks company and the IOC extended their agreement until 2032, increasing it to an historic 104-year partnership. Coca Cola are tasked with refreshing athletes, officials and spectators with its beverages during the course of the Olympic Games. In addition to its long-standing partnership with the IOC, Coca-Cola has partnered up with all 205 National Olympic Committees and teams. In August 2020, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) unveiled Coca-Cola as a new worldwide partner until 2032. It follows an agreement between the IPC and IOC from 2018 that all top-tier Olympic partners would automatically become sponsors of the Paralympics as well.
Exclusive product or service category: Chemicals, raw materials and compounds used across selected industries.
Joining the TOP programme in 2010, Dow’s task has been to combine the power of science and technology with the “human element” to passionately innovate what is essential to the human progress. Its partnership was enhanced in 2017, following the success of becoming the official carbon provider of the Games. Dow took on the challenge of delivering a carbon-mitigation programme to compensate for carbon emissions from the IOC’s daily operations. An example of its impact on the Games was the insulation technologies and heat transfer fluids used at the Olympic Sliding Centre and ice skating venues at the 2018 Games held in Pyeongchang in South Korea. Dow’s sponsorship is due to expire at the end of Tokyo 2020. Net sales for the three months to end-June were down 24 per cent from a year earlier at $8.35 billion (£6.43 billion/€7.1 billion) due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Exclusive product or service category: Selected industrial equipment for systems used in energy, healthcare, transportation and infrastructure industries
General Electric (GE) became a partner of the TOP programme in 2006 and has since brought innovative ideas and technologies to the Games. The company’s role involves working primarily with the host countries, providing power, lighting, water treatment and transportation to produce infrastructure solutions for the Olympic venues. GE also work with local hospitals and provide them with diagnostic imaging equipment such as ultrasounds and MRIs. GE’s sponsorship is due to expire at the end of Tokyo 2020.
Exclusive product or service category: Leading technology to enhance the Olympic Games
Intel became a TOP partner in June 2017, signing a deal with the IOC until 2024, after the premature departure of McDonald’s from the group of 13 official sponsors. Wasting little time, Intel’s initial aim was to integrate technology into many areas of the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, bringing along its 5G, VR, 3D and 360-degree content development platforms, artificial intelligence platforms and drones. Intel wants to expand the boundaries of technology. The company claims it is “creating Olympic experiences that are more innovative and immersive than ever before”. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected Intel, with revenue for the three months to September falling by four per cent to $18.3 billion (£13.7 billion/€15.2 billion) and net income over the same period dropping by 29 per cent to $4.3 billion (£3.2 billion/€3.6 billion).
Exclusive product or service category: Official Timekeeper
The esteemed Swiss watchmaker Omega has been the timekeeper for the Olympic Games since 1932, becoming an official TOP sponsor in 2004. As well as timekeeping for all Olympic events, Omega also equip competitors with motion sensors that interact with antennas placed at each event venue in order to feed-back immediate information such as live speeds and comparative data. Omega’s affiliation with the Olympics has also led them to time-keep for other major events. The company’s most notable achievement was the Omega’s Speedmaster being worn on each of NASA’s manned missions, including all six journeys to the moon. In 2017, Omega’s partnership with the IOC was extended through to 2032.
Exclusive product or service category: Audio/TV/video equipment
Panasonic began its involvement with the IOC in 1984 at the Los Angeles Olympic Games in which it supplied professional sound systems along with a large video display for the main stadium. Three years later, it became an official provider after joining the TOP programme as a chartered member. From then on it has supplied the Games with equipment such as flat screen TVs, digital video cameras, DVD recorders and professional audio/visual equipment. Its technology has delivered a close-up of the Games to spectators worldwide. With the partnership set to run until 2024, the IOC say Panasonic plays a “vital role in delivering the sights, sounds and unique excitement” of the Games.
Procter and Gamble
Exclusive product or service category: Personal care and household products
Being one of the world’s largest consumer goods corporations, P&G established a 10-year contract with the IOC in 2010 which will be coming to an end after Tokyo 2020. In the summer of 2020, this deal was extended through to Los Angeles 2028. One of its most memorable schemes was in 2018, when it began a campaign entitled “Reply 50 million” in which it asked the South Korean public to write messages P&G could deliver to participating athletes expressing their support. The P&G house has always taken on the role of being a home away from home for the athletes, a place where they can meet with their families and friends to relax and eat a hot meal. P&G is also continuing to prosper on the back of the cleaning product boom which has accompanied the COVID-19 pandemic, with earnings before income tax surging by 22 per cent to $5.3 billion (£4 billion/€4.4 billion).
Exclusive product or service category: Wireless communications equipment and computing equipment
Since beginning its sponsorship of the Olympics at the Seoul Games in 1988, Samsung has maintained a more-than-30-year legacy in enabling meaningful connections through innovative technologies. In 1998, the South Korean company was announced as being an official worldwide sponsor of the Games, providing vital communication and computing equipment. Beginning with the 2018 Winter Olympics, Samsung has expanded to wireless communications and computing equipment, widening the product category out to other IT products, including tablets, laptops, personal computers and printers in order to help expand the Olympic Movement. In 2018, Samsung extended its sponsorship deal with the IOC until 2028. Samsung is showing resilience in the face of the coronavirus pandemic as it posted in July a slightly bigger net profit than it reported for the same three months in 2019, climbing from KRW5.2 trillion (£3.3 billion/$4.4 billion/€3.7 billion) to KRW5.6 trillion (£3.6 billion/$4.7 billion/€4 billion).
Exclusive product or service category: Vehicles, mobility support robots and mobility services.
Toyota joined the TOP programme in 2015, becoming the first-ever mobility partner of the Olympic Movement. A year later, the company agreed a sponsorship contract until 2024. The IOC say Toyota is focused on mobility being “a source of inspiration” and “as a way to improve the quality of life” for people around the world. The aim for the 2020 Olympics is to improve on the Games’ sustainability and Toyota hope to achieve this by working alongside Organising Committees to provide solutions to create safer, sustainable and more efficient mobility at the Games. The Japanese company hope to bring to the Games intelligent transport systems as well as vehicle-to-vehicle communications and much more.
Exclusive product or service category: Payment services
Since becoming a member of the TOP programme in 1986, Visa has been providing reliable, exclusive payment technology for the Games. Not only does it provide around 1,000 payment terminals at the Games, the company has also developed a tradition of programmes that support Olympic athletes and youth around the world, teaching them about the history and purpose of the Olympic Movement. As a leading payment brand, Visa has also pushed to create innovative technology in order to enhance the consumer’s experience. At the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, Visa introduced new methods of paying via glove, sticker and pin. Its sponsorship was extended in 2018 to 2032. The severe downturn in international travel due to the coronavirus pandemic has taken its toll on Visa. Its net income for July to September 2020 dropped to 29 per cent from a year earlier at $2.14 billion (£1.6 billion/€1.8 billion) while net revenues were down by 17 per cent to $5.1 billion (£3.9 billion/€4.3 billion).