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Anorak | How Corporate Sponsors Bought Up The Rights For Their Staff To Run With The Olympic Torch

How Corporate Sponsors Bought Up The Rights For Their Staff To Run With The Olympic Torch

by | 4th, December 2011

ARE you one of the 8,000 people carrying the Olympic 2012 Torch around Great Britain?

The London 2012 games website tells us:

8,000 inspirational people from around the UK will carry the Olympic Flame as it journeys across the UK. Nominated by someone they know, it will be their moment to shine, inspiring millions of people watching in their community, in the UK and worldwide.

They will have “memories to last a lifetime”.

Says Seb Coe, chairman 2012 Organising committee:

In the past five years, I’ve talked frequently about the importance of our stakeholders. This year, we are asking our most important stakeholder — the 60 million people in this country — to make sure they play a part in the greatest show on earth in 2012..

Against this backdrop of sharing the Sunday Times reports:

Almost a fifth of the 8,000 slots meant for “inspirational people” on the 70-day tour of Britain have been allocated to commercial partners… Lloyds TSB has received more than 204 slots — worth tens of thousands of pounds — for its staff. BMW, EDF Energy and the Holiday Inn chain have all been given at least 70 places. Any perception of preferential treatment is likely to cause anger after almost 700,000 tickets for the Games were set aside for sponsors while 1m people missed out in the first round of sales.

Coca-Cola and Samsung scored 136 slots each for their employees.

A further 913 slots have been handed to other sponsors, including a group of 11 firms described as “supporting partners” of the torch relay. They include BMW, BT, EDF, Holiday Inn, Adidas and British Airways.

Visa said it had about 60 slots to reward staff for “their contributions to the community”. It added: “These slots are part of our allocation as a supporter of the torch relay and additional slots we purchased.”

BP said it had been allocated 10 places for “inspirational” staff from across Britain under its original 2012 sponsorship terms. It bought 40 more slots as part of a torch relay rights package for “staff, schools and … business partners” linked to its North Sea operations. “We did buy the 40 Aberdeen tickets under special rights,” it added.

How much did they pay? We’re not told.

But the so-called greatest show on Earth (it isn’t – the Fifa World Cup is) runs on one thing: money.

Image: Frank Ede, (left), taking over the Olympic torch from Austin Playford, with the then Mayor of Guildford, Alderman Arthur Williams, looking on at the ceremony, as the flame makes its way to London in 1948.



Posted: 4th, December 2011 | In: Sports Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink