The woman on the BBC2 program Newsnight yesterday said that visitors to the London Olympics wont be able to buy pints of British bitter because some bloody lager company has obtained “sole pouring rights” at all Olympic venues.
What utter BOLLOCKS! When did the concept of “sole pouring rights” appear in British law?
This evening’s BBC Radio 4 PM program reported that to buy Olympics tickets one must have a Visa card and that this will be the only card accepted in the Olympics area! Credit/Charge cards now form an intrinsic and necessary part of the money system in Western countries and to allow a monopoly in this area is atrocious. The board of the Olympics Organising Committee (IOC) have obviously confused sponsorship with bribery. The Deputy Chair of the IOC is Sir Keith Mills who has worked extensively in the the loyalty card industry. It will be interesting to keep an eye on his future career choices.
It’s not just beer and cards of course, Powerade is the “official Sports Drink” of the London Olympics. Leaving aside the ludicrous claims that a fizzy drink has anything to do with sport, what does it mean to be an “official” sports drink? Are the Olympics athletes obliged to consume this stuff? Are the officials obliged to consume it?
In fact, what does it mean to be a sponsor? In the case of the Olympics the word “sponsor” has two meanings. First it means that Coca-Cola, the owner of Powerade, have paid the Olympics organisers to use the Olympic branding material. The word sponsor is used here incorrectly as this is merely a commercial transaction.
When some bloke asks me to give £10 to a cancer charity providing that he runs a marathon, that is sponsorship. If I demand that he only wear clothes made by my company then it is no longer sponsorship, it is a commercial transaction. He is earning money by selling me advertising space and the fact that he donates part of his money to charity reflects well on him but, as the advertiser, my motives are commercial not charitable. I am not a sponsor, he is.
The second meaning of “sponsor” is worse. In the UK we have various laws ensuring competition and a level playing field for wholesalers to get their products to consumers. But, as with many supposed sponsorship deals, the organisers of The London Olympics have somehow insisted that normal free market competition rules are waived and that corporations are granted monopolies. One has to ask: Who gave the IOC the right to suspend British and European trade rules?
Corporate sponsorship is a questionable activity as any contribution made by corporations is met by shareholders or customers who may be oblivious to the costs incurred. A quick perusal of the web reveals that the legal authorities are becoming aware of the slippery slope from sponsorship into bribery. In October 2011 the Stuttgart Public Prosecutor’s Office filed an indictment against Volkswagen employees in connection with T-Systems’ sponsorship of the VfL Wolfsburg football club and specialist marketing companies are monitoring the effect of UK 2010 Bribery law on the sponsorship industry.
The absence of British beer brands at a major international event hosted by the UK in London is yet another example of how the corrupt and greedy British elite have sold out our culture for cash. It’s notable that the London Olympics web site does not refer to firms donating money as sponsors but as “partners”, a term usually reserved for the owners of giant business consultancies such as Deloitte who, incidentally, are another Olympic partner.