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1896 - Athens

The Organising Committee faced severe financial difficulties and sought support from a well-known benefactor, Mr George Averoff, who financed the major expense of refurbishing the Olympic stadium. Companies provided revenue through advertising in the souvenir programme.

1912 - Stockholm

Approximately ten Swedish companies purchased "Sole-rights", primarily to take photographs and sell memorabilia of the Olympic Games. One company purchased the rights to place weighing machines on the grounds for spectators.

1920 - Antwerp

The official programme was full of advertising, so much so that the reader had to examine the book very carefully to find anything about the Olympic Games or the events.

1924 - Paris

Olympic Games venue advertising signage was permitted for the first and only time.

1928 - Amsterdam

Rights were expanded to concessionaries such as a brewery, which was allowed to operate restaurants within the stadium grounds. The Coca-Cola Company, a current TOP Partner, began its long-standing association with the Olympic Games. Advertising was allowed in the programmes, but the IOC made a stipulation that the stadium grounds and buildings could not be disfigured with posters.

1932 - Los Angeles

"The California approach to the Games was typically exuberant and money-orientated," states the Official Report of the 1932 Olympic Games. Zack Farmer, Chairman of the OCOG, described the Games afterwards: "The 1932 Games were the first ones that ever paid off... We gave them a wonderful Olympics and a profit to boot." The most original and controversial element in the L.A. business proposition was the Olympic Village. When the Games were over, the bungalows in which the athletes had lived were dismantled and sold as tourist accommodations and to construction companies.

1932 - Lake Placid (Winter)

Publicity efforts by the Organising Committee concentrated on business organisations and retail stores that could give the Games free merchandising and advertising tie-ins. Many major department stores on the East Coast of the United States featured the Olympic Games in their window displays, and many national advertisers used the Games as the theme for their 1931-1932 winter advertising.

1936 - Berlin

The first Games to be televised were those in Berlin. This was done on an experimental basis in and around Berlin only, with a total of 138 viewing hours and 162,000 viewers. Only one of the three total cameras could be used live and even then only if the sunlight was bright enough. Berlin was also the first Olympic Games to produce an Olympic Torch Relay.

1948 - London

History has it that the Organising Committee eventually persuaded the BBC to pay the then colossal sum of one thousand guineas (around US$3,000) for the broadcasting rights. Reports at the time indicated that the "BBC later pleaded desperate poverty, but, as they were all gentlemen, when the BBC paid up the organisers never cashed the cheque." However, they had established the principle of the "rights fee." Estimates suggest that over 500,000 people watched the 64 hours of programming. Although the majority of viewers were within a 50-mile radius of London, viewers in the Channel Islands reported excellent transmission.

1952 - Helsinki

A sales department sold various rights to do on-site business at the Olympic Games. This was the first attempt at an "international marketing programme, with companies from eleven countries donating value-in-kind products, ranging from food for the athletes to flowers for medal winners."

1956 - Melbourne

Neither of these Games fared well with revenue from television negotiations. Television by then had become big business, but talks broke down early in the negotiations, preventing transmission of the Games to such important markets as the United States. 1952 also marks the beginning of contract rights negotiations as we know them today.

1956 - Cortina D'Ampezzo (Winter)

For the first time, the Winter Games were broadcast live. The last torch carrier stumbled and fell over the TV cable placed on the ice surface of the stadium. Although the torch was dropped, the flame was soon reignited.


The issue of television rights was incorporated into the Olympic Charter with the introduction of Rule 49 "the rights shall be sold by the organising committee, with the approval of the IOC, and the revenues distributed in accordance with its instructions."

1960 - Rome

These Olympic Games were televised live for the first time to 18 European countries, and only hours later in the United States, Canada and Japan, forever changing how the public watch the Olympic Games. An extensive sponsor/supplier programme included 46 companies that provided key technical support and some less key support, such as perfume, chocolate, toothpaste, soap and maps of Olympic sites in Rome.

1964 - Tokyo

The number of corporate marketing relationships associated with the Games grew to include 250 companies. A new cigarette brand called "Olympia" generated over US$1 million in revenue for the OCOG. (The tobacco category was later banned.) Broadcasts were global, with satellite coverage used for the first time to relay pictures overseas. Technical support from sponsor companies began to take on a greater role in the staging of the Olympic Games. Seiko created quartz-timing technology, which provided the most accurate timing system to date.


The IOC expanded revenue sharing to include NOC and International Federations (IFs) for the first time.

1968 - Mexico City

The Olympic Games were first telecast live in colour. Slow-motion footage was also available live.

1972 - Munich

A private advertising agency acted as the licensing agent for the first time. Rights to use the official emblem were sold, and several types of licensing and advertising agreements were available. There was also the first official mascot, "Waldi", whose image was licensed to private firms for sale.

1972 - Sapporo (Winter)

Following the successful satellite transmission of images from the Tokyo Olympic Games, expectations of broadcasting success were high. Just as they would in Nagano (1998), NHK provided the television feed for broadcasters to choose the coverage they wanted. The construction of all new sports facilities is cited as one of the distinguishing features of these Olympic Winter Games.

1976 - Montreal

A total of 628 sponsors and suppliers participated, with the official sponsor programme further broken down into official sponsors, official supporters and official promoters. This programme generated only US$7 million for the OCOG.

1984 - Los Angeles

The Los Angeles Games marked the beginning of the most successful era of corporate sponsorship. For the first time, the OCOG separated sponsorship into three categories: 34 companies signed on as Official Sponsors, 64 companies purchased "supplier" rights, and 65 companies were licensees. Each category had designated rights and exclusivity. In most cases, the sponsor companies were large, multinational corporations. However, the marketing of the Olympic Games was still limited to the host country and US companies. Television (and radio) rights for these Games were acquired by 156 nations, and it is estimated that more than 2.5 billion people were able to view the action.

1984 - Sarajevo (Winter)

447 foreign and domestic sponsorship agreements were signed.


1988 - Seoul
1988 - Calgary (Winter)

Under the direction of the IOC, a world-wide marketing programme (The Olympic programme, or TOP) was implemented, with the Seoul Organising Committee, the Calgary Organising Committee and a large number of National Olympic Committees (NOCs) coordinating their efforts. The nine business categories for TOP were limited to certain products and services that were marketable world-wide. For other items, OCOG launched the marketing programmes independently. For the first time, the IOC required the host country OCOG and NOC to operate a joint marketing programme. It was decided that the fewer the number of corporations involved, the more value individual sponsorships would hold.


1992 - Barcelona
1992 - Albertville (Winter)

TOP continued with 12 worldwide sponsors and a more sophisticated package. The Barcelona Games were the first at which a "multi-tier" TV structure was operated in several countries. The main national broadcaster sub-licensed coverage of additional events to other cable and satellite broadcasters, thereby considerably expanding the total amount of sports coverage. A survey done in the United States, Spain, and the United Kingdom showed that an average of seven out of ten people tuned in to watch the Albertville Games, increasing to more than nine out of ten people for Barcelona.

1994 - Lillehammer (Winter)

Broadcast and marketing programmes generated more than US$500 million, breaking almost every major marketing record for an Olympic Winter Games. The licensing programmes resulted in three times the forecast revenue and set new standards of organisation and quality for future Organising Committees for the Olympic Games (OCOGs) to emulate. More than 120 countries and territories viewed television coverage of the 1994 Olympic Winter Games, compared to the 86 countries broadcasting the Albertville winter events. For the first time, the Olympic Winter Games were officially broadcast on the African continent, by the M-Net (South and Central Africa) and ART (North Africa and the Middle East) satellites.

1996 - Atlanta

The Centennial Olympic Games were funded entirely through private sources, with broadcast rights fees, sponsorship and ticket sales comprising the Game's sole sources of revenue. The Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Game's (ACOGs) privately funded Olympic Games managed to break even. To ensure that as large an audience as possible could watch the Centennial Olympic Games, the IOC underwrote the cost of the transmissions to Africa.

Out of a potential global television audience of 3.5 billion viewers, an unduplicated audience of more than 3.2 billion people watched the Olympic Games in 1996, with a cumulative audience estimated at 19.6 billion. (This unduplicated audience of 3.2 billion is calculated at nine-tenths of available viewers in developed countries and two-thirds of available viewers in developing countries.) The broadcast reached a record 214 countries worldwide. Ticket sales for Atlanta generated 26 percent of total revenue. With 11 million tickets available for sale, total ticket sales exceeded those of Los Angeles and Barcelona combined.

1998 - Nagano (Winter)

Broadcast and marketing programmes continued to build upon the success of Lillehammer. The partnership between the Olympic Movement and the technology sponsors set the criteria for future Games. One hundred and eighty countries and territories viewed television coverage of the 1998 Olympic Winter Games, compared to 120 countries broadcasting the Lillehammer winter events. For the first time, the Olympic Winter Games were broadcast live in Australia.

Nagano produced a number of Olympic firsts including the licensing of Olympic Glory, a large-format (70 mm) film; video-on-demand services which allowed visitors to view footage from 500 hours of sporting action from the Nagano Games and the Olympic archives; and 3-D high-definition television (HDTV).

The Nagano Organising Committee's website was the first Olympic Winter Games website to provide enthusiasts with a system for viewing results and information in real time. The Nagano website received 646 million hits during the Games - an Internet record.

2000 - Sydney

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Sydney Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (SOCOG) generated approximately US$3 billion during the period 1997-2000 from the marketing of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games; mostly from the sale of collective broadcasting rights, sponsorships, tickets and licenses. The IOC generated approximately 63 percent of the overall revenue while SOCOG's unprecedented marketing success within the host country of Australia generated nearly 37 percent of the overall revenue.

The Sydney 2000 Olympic Games now stand as the most watched sports event ever. More than 3.7 billion people tuned in to watch in 220 countries and territories, generating more than 36.1 billion television viewing hours. For the first time, Australians and international visitors shared in the excitement of Olympics Live sites around the city of Sydney.

Spectators purchased more than 92% of Olympic Games tickets, far exceeding the previous record of 82.3% that had been set in Atlanta.

The official website of Sydney 2000 was the most popular destination on the internet during the Games, experiencing more than 11.3 billion hits.

"The Sydney 2000 Olympic Games set a course for the future of the Olympic Movement - it stands now in our collective memory as a tribute to the most successful marketing effort the world has ever seen." Richard Pound, Chairman of the IOC Marketing Commission for Sydney 2000

Sydney 2000 Marketing Report

2002 - Salt Lake City (Winter)

Unprecedented Winter Games Marketing Success.

The Salt Lake 2002 marketing effort was the most successful in the history of the Olympic Winter Games. The 2002 Olympic Winter Games established marketing-related records in the areas of broadcasting, ticketing and sponsorship:

  • 2.1 billion viewers in 160 countries and territories amassed 13.1 billion viewer hours.
  • More than 1.525 million tickets were sold, representing 95% of the available tickets.
  • The OPUS local sponsorship programme generated a total of US$ 876 million for the Salt Lake Organising Committee (SLOC) and the US Olympic Committee (USOC).

Built upon the experience and learning from previous Games, Salt Lake 2002 set a new standard for success in marketing programme execution. The 2002 Games established a benchmark for protecting the Olympic image and the rights of partners. The balance between the commercial agenda and the Olympic image was achieved.

  • SLOC's operating budget of US$ 1,390.5 million was supported almost entirely by marketing and broadcasting.
  • Salt Lake 2002 Olympic marketing programmes generated greater levels of support from fewer partnerships than the much larger-scaled 1996 Olympic Games.
  • Effective pre-promotion of Salt Lake 2002 was gained through greater broadcast support and high-quality sponsor advertising.
  • Sponsor integration was enhanced, as partners complemented the visual presentation of the Games and enriched the spectator experience through multiple and popular sponsor-hosted activities and events.
  • Few ambush marketing incidents were encountered; all minor ambush incidents were effectively addressed.
  • Olympic Market Research clearly shows passion for the Olympic Games, support for Olympic sponsors and enjoyment of the Olympic Games experience across constituencies and demographics.

Salt Lake 2002 Marketing Report

2004 - Athens (Summer)

The Athens 2004 sponsorship programme was the second largest source of revenue for the staging of the Olympic Games, providing approximately 23% of the Organising Committee’s balanced budget.

The Athens 2004 domestic sponsorship programme exceeded initial targets by 57%, generating more than US$300 million in domestic sponsorship of the Olympic Games and sponsorship of the Athens 2004 Olympic Torch Relay.

The Athens 2004 Olympic broadcast partners provided unprecedented levels of support for the Olympic Movement and the staging of the 2004 Olympic Games. The Athens 2004 Olympic Games broadcast generated over US$1,400 million in rights fees revenue.
More than 300 television channels provided 35,000 hours of dedicated Olympic Games coverage over 17 days, delivering images from Athens 2004 to an unduplicated audience of 3.9 billion people in 220 countries and territories.
An unduplicated audience of 3.9 billion television viewers in 220 countries and territories had access to the Athens 2004 Olympic Games broadcast, marking a significant increase over the previous Olympic broadcast record of 3.6 billion viewers with access to Sydney 2000. Each television viewer worldwide watched an average of 12 hours of Olympic Games coverage on television over the 17 days of the Olympic Games.

Several satellite and cable channels devoted their entire programming to 24-hour per day coverage of Athens 2004. A number of Olympic broadcast partners offered Olympic coverage on dedicated channels 24 hours per day for 17 days.

Several broadcasters enhanced viewer choice by providing extended coverage on digital and interactive channels. Broadcasters in certain countries used 3G technology to make streaming video and highlight clips of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games available through mobile phone handsets. Broadcasters in several markets offered streaming video via the Internet and dedicated Olympic web sites.For the first time in summer Olympic history, the host broadcaster provided the live feed of Olympic Games competitions and ceremonies in HDTV (high-definition television).

Athens 2004 Marketing Report 2004

2006 - Torino (Winter)

Torino 2006 was the most "international" Olympic Winter Games in history, as a record 80 Olympic teams participated and television viewers in more countries than ever before shared in the experience. Likewise, the sixth generation of the TOP Programme is the most globally inclusive ever. The TOP VI sponsors are headquartered in seven countries across three continents – demonstrating global participation in the programme that mirrors the worldwide nature of the Olympic Movement.

The Torino 2006 domestic sponsorship programme stands as the most lucrative and successful sponsorship programme in Italian history, generating € 269.8 million and included 57 companies and 63 brands across three tiers: Main Sponsors, Official Sponsors and Official Suppliers. The programme accounted for nearly 1% of the total advertising spend in the Italian market, 35 times greater than that of Salt Lake 2002, and reached 35 million people in Italy in terms of interest and awareness, surpassing the reach of sponsorships in football (€ 27 million) and motor racing (€ 24 million). Torino 2006 accounted for 6.14% of the total sponsorship spending in the market which was significantly higher than previous Olympic Winter Games sponsorship programmes.

The Turin Olympic Broadcast Organisation provided nearly 1,000 hours of live content - the most in Olympic Winter Games history. Our broadcast partners, in turn, provided viewers with a combined total of more than 16,000 hours of coverage – by far a record in Olympic Winter Games broadcasting. The Olympic broadcasters also maximised opportunities in new media technology, providing viewers with more access and greater choice through the Internet, mobile phones and multiple television channels.

Torino 2006 Marketing Report

2008 - Beijing

The Beijing 2008 Olympic Games were watched in record numbers with coverage available to more people in more places than ever before. Global digital coverage of the Olympic Games was also available for the first time, enabling the IOC’s broadcast partners to make even more sports action available to their audiences. For example, in the US, NBC delivered more coverage of the Beijing Games than the combined output of all the previous Summer Games.

The TOP Programme provided vital support and played a fundamental role in staging the Games and in helping NOCs with the necessary resources to develop Olympic teams and send athletes to participate, ensuring that the Games properly reflect the global nature of the Olympic Movement.

The Beijing Organising Committee created the most successful domestic sponsorship programme in Olympic history. The marketing team brought global partners together with local sponsors to create an unprecedented Olympic marketing platform.

The Beijing 2008 Olympic Games were undoubtedly a hugely significant milestone in the development of both China and the Olympic Movement.

Beijing 2008 Marketing Report