It’s finally happened. The torch has been lit for the opening of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. The Olympics are a very special occasion. They are one of the few times where the whole world joins together peacefully to promote international goodwill. In a world filled with economic rivalry, war, terrorism, poverty and many other horrible things, it’s a welcome thing to see people coming together on an equal plane to compete in one of the few things everybody enjoys: sports.
Make no mistake about it though; it takes a great deal of money to put on such a huge event. The Olympics are broadcast all over the world. It brings people from all walks of life into one city and invites them to stay for two weeks. Such feats could not be done without the help from the wallets of some major companies.
The Olympics are put on by a group called the International Olympic Committee. This group is responsible for raising money, as well as organizing, promoting, and running the games. They raise money by soliciting the help of major companies. In return, these companies get access to the Olympic Committee’s advertisements and merchandise. If somebody buys a t-shirt in Sochi this year, it will have on it the Olympic Rings, as well as the symbols of many major sponsors.
To gain access to this type of exposure, companies pay about one billion dollars over a four year span between Olympics. This money is used to cover the cost of the International Olympic Committee’s fees, and the committee then uses it on advertising, merchandising, and marketing. Normally, these companies sign contracts for multiple Olympics.
Since there is either a summer or winter Olympics held every two years, in a four year span a worldwide partner will usually fork out about two billion dollars. These are the Worldwide Olympic Partners for the 2014 Sochi Winter Games. The companies are listed by total annual revenue from least to greatest.
10 Dow Chemical Group - 2013 Revenue: $5.7 billion
The Dow Chemical Group is a company focused on finding new sustainable energy sources, as well as ways to enhance the production of agriculture. The company’s biggest project right now is trying to figure out a solution to the lack of potable water in many countries around the world. The company recently reported that it brought in $5.7 billion in total revenue for the 2013 fiscal year. This is the Dow Chemical Group’s first year as an Olympic Partner.
9 Atos – 2013 Revenue: $6.84 Billion
Atos is the Olympics’ Worldwide Technology Partner. Starting in the games held in Salt Lake City in 2002, Atos is responsible for setting up instant communication lines between athletes, spectators, Olympic organizers, the Olympic Committee, and the media. The French information technology company brings in an estimated five billion Euros every year. That is about $6.84 billion, for those of you keeping track.
8 Omega (The Swatch Group) – 2012 Revenue: $8.8 Billion
Omega is actually the smallest company allowed to claim worldwide partnership with the 2014 Winter Games. Omega is owned by the Switzerland-based Swatch Group; a company which owns eighteen different brands of watchmakers. The Swatch Group is the world’s largest company dedicated solely to the making of time pieces. Omega may be the smallest individual brand on this list, but its parent company brings in more revenue than either the Dow Chemical Company or Atos.
The Swatch Group brought in $8.8 billion in 2012 and is expected to increase that number when they report for 2013.Omega products are the Official Time Keepers of the Olympics. Their watches are the only ones used when judges are scoring time based events. One of the brands from the Swatch Group has claimed this title at all but three games since the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles. Omega will be the Official Time Keepers until at least 2020.
7 Visa – 2013 Revenue: $11.79 Billion
Visa is the Official Payment System of the Olympic Games. The company began its partnership with the International Olympic Committee in 1986. It is also one of the top three sponsors of the Paralympic Games, which are also put on by the International Olympic Committee. Operating in over 200 countries worldwide, Visa reported 11.79 billion dollars in total revenue for 2013.
When attending the games, spectators must pay using either Visa cards or in the host country’s native currency. Sochi uses the Russian ruble as its main form of currency. One ruble is worth less than three cents.
6 McDonald’s – 2012 Revenue: $27 Billion
McDonald’s is one of the longest running partners of the Olympics and is known as the Official Restaurant of the Olympic Games. Any athlete and their families can go to the local McDonald’s in the host city and eat for free. In the 1968 games held in Grenoble, McDonalds airlifted in hamburgers to United States athletes who were reportedly homesick and wanted American food.
In the very next set of games, the fast food chain stepped up from being a national sponsor of the American team to a partnership with the International Olympic Committee.McDonald’s has over 33,000 locations in 119 countries. It is estimated they serve 64 million customers each day. In 2012, the company reported $27 billion in total revenue.
5 Coca-Cola – 2012 Revenue: $48.07 Billion
Coca-Cola is the world’s leading manufacturer and distributer of non-alcoholic beverages. They are also the longest running partner of the Olympic Games. They first became a worldwide partner in the 1928 games held in Amsterdam. The company also is a national partner of 190 different Olympic teams.In 2005, it signed a fifteen-year contract extension with the International Olympic Committee to remain a worldwide partner. Coca-Cola products are sold in nearly every country, and in 2012 the company reported 48.07 billion dollars in sales.
4 Procter and Gamble – 2012 Revenue: $84.74 Billion
With total revenue of $84.74 billion dollars in 2012, Procter and Gamble is the fourth highest-earning company on the list of Olympic partners. The company is responsible for manufacturing many of the products we use in our homes each day, including Pampers, Tide, Gain, Gillette, Head and Shoulders, and many more. Its various brands are distributed in over 50 countries. This is the first set of games where Procter and Gamble is a worldwide partner.
3 Panasonic – 2012 Revenue: $94.78 Billion
Panasonic’s relationship with the Olympics began during the 1984 games held in Los Angeles. The company supplied all the audio/video equipment used in the city’s main stadium. In 1987, the company signed a contract with the International Olympic Committee and became the official supplier of all the audio/video equipment used in order to show the Olympics on television or the internet and to broadcast on the radio. Panasonic reported total revenue of $94.78 billion in 2012.
2 General Electric – 2012 Revenue: $147.4 Billion
General Electric is one of only two worldwide partners to produce over $100 billion in total revenue each year. In 2012, it was reported the company had about $147.4 billion coming in. The company was started by Thomas Edison over 130 years ago and today operates in over 100 countries worldwide. This is General Electrics’ first set of games as an official international sponsor.
1 Samsung – 2013 Revenue: $178.6 Billion
Topping our list of Worldwide Official Olympic Partners is Samsung. Samsung recently reported $178.6 billion in revenue for 2013. They are the Official Wireless Telecommunication Equipment Partner of the Olympic Games, with Samsung providing all the wireless communication equipment needed to put on the games. They also provide phones to athletes and their families while the games are in session.
Samsung operates in 46 countries and their Olympic sponsorship is the company’s largest effort at promoting public goodwill.