British Airways will be unveiled next week as the fourth top-tier sponsor of London 2012. The airline will join Lloyds TSB, Adidas and EDF Energy as official tier-one partners, according to a report on Olympic news website Inside The Games.
It is reported that they are paying Â£50 million for the sponsorship. BT seems likely to join the blue-chip backers as London 2012’s telecoms partner within the next two months, according to other reports.
Earlier this month, the airline announced that it was to end its sponsorship of the London Eye; it will now focus its spend on becoming a tier-one domestic partner for the London Olympics.
BT is expected to win a bidding battle with mobile operator Orange and pay Â£80 million in cash and services for the privilege of supporting the London Games. Matthew Beard, in the London Evening Standard, reported last week that both orange and BT had spent more than Â£1 million each on legal advice over the deal.
Negotiations with the 2012 organising committee, LOCOG, have lasted more than two years as the telecommunications deal is the most complicated of all the Olympic sponsorship packages.
Although BT will pay a substantial cash fee, most of its offer is “value in kind”, kitting out the main Olympic stadium-and other venues with communications equipment. The company, which helped to fund the Olympic bid, now has “preferred bidder” status, although an announcement is not due until April.
BT will have exclusive 2012 marketing rights in the UK – including use of the London Olympics logo – and first refusal on tickets and hospitality packages. The Olympics tie-in is thought to dovetail with the business strategy of BT, which last year launched a sports channel on its broadband BT Vision service.
A spokesman for BT said: “No decision has been made. Becoming an official sponsor is something we are interested in but any sponsorship undertaking on this scale includes a multitude of commercial considerations which need to be looked at in a lot of detail.”
LOCOG aims to raise Â£ 625million from sponsors.
Tesco and Sainsbury’s are vying to become 2012 backers in the “clothing and homeware” category, Beard reported.