The London 2012 Paralympic Games has created new opportunities for brands and sponsors to become involved in the Paralympic movement. That was one of the key messages to come out of the first International Paralympic Committee Marketing Summit held yesterday at the London Media Centre.
Sponsors of the London 2012 Paralympic Games – which have all helped to increase the Paralympic Games’ reach – can consider their commercial deals a success, said Sir Keith Mills, chairman of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG).
“It is a virtuous circle,” he explains. “The media loves it, the general public loves it and now the commercial sector loves it. The sorts of things that London 2012 has been able to do with the commercial sector have added a new dimension to the Games, and have brought them to a much wider audience.”
Mills hailed the commercial deal with Paralympic broadcaster Channel 4 as a strong example. Channel 4 has recorded an average of three to four million viewers every night during the Paralympic Games, and the Opening Ceremony attracted some 12 million viewers to the commercial broadcaster.
“The deal with Channel 4 has given the movement more airtime than ever in history. And when you give more airtime, people can appreciate and understand it better.”
While the Paralympic Games “product” has been strong for some time, what has been missing is the distribution of the product, added Sir Keith. “With the Paralympic Games, you now have an amazing product. When it’s distributed well and is made accessible to the public, you’re building an even greater product for which people will beat a path to your door.”
Sir Philip Craven, president of the International Paralympic Committee, agrees that London 2012 has been a huge success for the Paralympic movement.
“The Paralympic spirit is stronger than ever here in London,” he says. “We’ve seen a strong performance by the Olympic Delivery Authority, LOCOG and the Mayor’s Office. Then you’ve got the crowds – just over 2.7 million tickets have been sold as of today. It’s no wonder that we have major companies wondering where all this interest has come from.”
Now, the big challenge for the Paralympic movement is keeping the general public interested in the four years between Paralympic Games.
“The punters themselves are voting with their feet,” continued Mayor of London Boris Johnson. “Just look at the numbers, the enthusiasm of the crowds. It’s awe inspiring.
“I hope companies will see what it can do for their brands. Without detracting from our own achievements, I hope they will invest in the Paralympic movement in order to support an even greater Paralympic Games in Rio in four years’ time.”
Image: Crown Copyright