LOCOG goes for gold with Olympic digital ads

The 2012 Olympic organisers plan to maximise income from its online operations, according to a report on

With the BBC unable to carry any advertising or commercial activity around its broadcasting of the London Games, LOCOG, the local organising committee, believes that digital and social media offers it an opportunity to cash in and help fund its £9.3 billion budget.

“There’s a huge, huge sponsorship opportunity,” Alex Balfour, the head of new media at LOCOG, told a conference this week.

Olympic rights-holding broadcasters in countries hosting the Games usually fill their boots with premium advertising, often promoting the many sponsors of the IOC and the local organisers. Given the absence of that promotional opportunity in Britian with the BBC, it makes the sponsorship-selling job done by Lord Coe and Paul Deighton at LOCOG all the more remarkable.

But it also means that LOCOG’s various sponsors, including bluechips like EDF Energy, Lloyd’s-TSB, British Airways, BMW and BP, will need to find other means around the Games to promote their brands.

It could represent one of the biggest opportunities for online media since the boom of a decade ago.

“For us, it’s an exceptional opportunity,” Balfour said. “We have 35-plus sponsors at the moment and there’s no way for them to activate [on UK TV] at all. That’s an opportunity for us to drive revenue.

“We’ll do it through straightforward sales but bring social media in as well.”

Sponsorship opportunities could include around a results service on the games’ official website.

The situation during the Paralympics will be different, since Channel 4 has the UK rights, which could be a boost for the commercial channel following the anticipated national euphoria generated by the Olympics.

LOCOG has targeted raising £2 billion from private sources.

Balfour’s digital department has a staff of just six, supported by a technical team.

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