Free Essay: Achieving Commercial Viability vs. Upholding Olympism

Published: 2023-05-01
Free Essay: Achieving Commercial Viability vs. Upholding Olympism
Type of paper:  Critical thinking
Categories:  Branding Sport Strategic marketing Business communication
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1826 words
16 min read

Olympism is described as a life philosophy that enables sports to serve humanity. It allows the interaction of qualities of the mind will and body. Actions that link education, culture, and games are used to express Olympism. The International Olympics Committee (IOC) has set a guideline on Olympics revenue distribution and generation to ensure it remains viable. It is, however, necessary to compare different ways through which achieving commercial viability in the Olympics and upholding Olympism and Olympic values. The IOC believes that the Olympics and sports have a unique role to play in modern society. The current world needs standard solutions due to the interdependence it experiences. It makes sustainability, as well as sustaining Olympic values, a key pillar for the IOC. The United Nations acknowledges the importance of sports as, through games, the UN can attain its goal of sustainable development (Kenyon & Palmer, 2008). However, the IOC has faced several challenges in ensuring that the commercial viability of the Olympics is achieved while also maintaining the Olympic values. This paper will assess some of the challenges faced by the IOC in achieving commercial sustainability via its leveraging of Olympism and Olympic values to improve the value of sponsorship and broadcasting rights while still upholding Olympism and Olympic values.

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The first contradiction between IOC commercial management and Olympism is seen in the broadcasting field, whereby the content of Olympic related advertising has been criticized. For example, the coverage of the United States broadcaster NBC coverage of the London Olympics was criticized for various reasons. First, the coverage of the opening ceremony was tape-delayed, and marquee events presented, the commercial breaks were excessive, the London 7/7 terrorist attack tribute to the attack victims was edited out, creation of fake suspense through the editing of gymnastic coverage and overly nationalistic coverage (Kenyon & Palmer, 2008). The actions of NBC are against the Olympic games spirit. Despite the criticism, the London Olympics was the most-watched Olympic event in the United States, with a total of 219.4 million viewers and an audience of about 31.1 million viewers at any moment (Davies, 2016). A large number of viewers can be used to justify the revenue used by advertisers during the Olympic coverage with the broadcaster making a profit of about $120 million on its investment of $1.28 billion to allow it exclusive rights to broadcast the Olympic games in 2012 (Kenyon & Palmer, 2008). Despite the conflict, the IOC gave the NBC proprietary rights to broadcast Olympic games in the US from 2021 to 2032 at a rights fee of $7.65 billion (Kenyon & Palmer, 2008). Thomas Bach, the president of IOC, contradicted the criticism by stating that NBC has a passion for the Olympics values as well as expertise in broadcasting sports allowing them to broadcast games in the United States for many years to come. It illustrates the challenges of achieving commercial viability while upholding Olympism and Olympic values.

The second contradiction is seen in the case of Coca-Cola and MacDonald's as IOC struggles to attain commercial viability and Olympism. The partnership of IOC with coca-cola and MacDonalds contradicts its fundamental Olympism principle, which states, "Olympism is a philosophy of life exalting and combining in a balanced whole the qualities of body, will and mind" (Davies, 2016). The products offered by MacDonald and Coca-Cola are high in fat and calories. The companies partnered with IOC as a way of making a profit by selling their products to the game's audience. They offered to sponsor the Olympic games, which would then provide them a platform to sell their products. The act contradicts the values of the Olympic games, which is to achieve a balanced whole of the body, will, and mind, which encourages people to be healthy. The Olympic movement statutes the Olympic charter presents the best way of determining priority. The IOC has two missions, according to the Olympic charter. The first is to promote Olympism in the world, and the second is to lead in the movement of the Olympic. The IOC collaborates with several organizations to promote sports to the community while placing the Olympism values as the main objectives. It is hence essential that IOC promotes a balanced whole of mind, body, and will over the revenue that MacDonald's and Coca-Cola generate. IOC should, therefore, end their collaboration with the two companies.

The third contradiction occurs in the issue of idealism and commercialism. To understand why the Olympic brand is so powerful, consider a case whereby the best of the united nations and the best of Nike combine. In one instance, the Olympic brand acts like a humanitarian whereby it places morality and idealism above everything else. On the other end, it associates with the best athletes in the world, which gives it an edge and dynamism more than any noncommercial agency would provide. Olympic rhetoric stresses that it is the participation that matters, and the competition is between individuals and not nations. However, the spectacle and presentation that is associated with the Olympics are highly nationalistic. The contradiction has led to the need to investigate the undercurrents of nationalists in the broadcasting and reporting of the Olympics. The games have been described as a place where the sports world and those yearning for peace meet. This notion is idealistic and cannot elevate the Olympic brand beyond other sporting events, although it allows Olympism to fulfill some fundamental human needs and to aspire to a higher purpose (Mestre, 2008). The Olympic games have been criticized, and the idea that they are just one game away from a total disaster often put forth. It has put pressure on the IOC to deliver something unique that would restore faith in the sports. IOC is said to suppress the individuality of the host city through idealism and commercialism. The host cities are required to have far fewer complexities in politics and high levels of security and provide an opportunity to hone a perfect game experience, which is often expensive. This approach is possible only if the Olympics were held in the IOC hometown of Lausanne. The predictability that accompanies this approach would, however, be harmful to the characteristics of Olympics games, which is to provide a constant reinterpretation of culture.

To overcome the contradictions, IOC can take specific measures to ensure commercial viability is achieved while upholding Olympism and the values of the Olympics. The solution to the broadcasting issue can be obtained by lowering the broadcasting fee in the case of NBC. The company stated that it conducts tape-delayed broadcasting and many commercial adverts so it can afford to pay for the ever-increasing rights fee (MacRury, 2017). The marquee sports are held until the prime time to harvest the rating and to optimize the companies advertising (Giannoulakis, Stotlar & Chatziefstathiou, 2008). It is through the paid adverts that NBC can buy exclusive rights to broadcast the Olympics. However, if the Olympics lowered the fees, the company would not require to provide the many adverts and marquee sports as it can efficiently pay for the broadcasting rights. The fans are upset with the delayed tapes as significant sporting events are televised live, and so should be for the Olympics. People want to see what they want and when they want it. They do not want freezing of videos, pixelate, skip, or buffer in the case of sports streaming. People were disappointed when they could not watch Phelps race Ryan live in the Olympics swimming competitions in 2012 as the live streams seized up. To avoid such problems, the IOC should lower the rights fees to ensure that the airing of Olympics games happens live and can be easily accessed.

IOC should also find a solution to the issue of ensuring that Olympics sponsors such as coca-cola and MacDonalds provide healthy foods to the audience. this approach will ensure that the sponsorship goals are in line with Olympism being a philosophy of life exalting and combining in a balanced whole the qualities of body, will and mind." IOC should identify better sponsorship deals that promote Olympic values. Macdonalds and coca-cola provide foods that could prevent one from becoming an Olympic athlete as well as being an obstacle to a healthy life. The world today is at the grip of a global health pandemic. According to the world health organization in 2016, 39% of the world's population was classified as overweight, while 13% were obese (MacRury, 2017). It is predicted that if the current prevalence continues, half of the world will be obese by 2030. IOC should be aware of the health concerns created by junk foods and should, therefore, avoid legitimizing brands that are regarded to be unhealthy. IOC should instead promote the use of tap water instead of juice or soda, banning the advertisement of fast foods during the Olympics as well as teaching healthy cooking to curb obesity.

The issue of idealism and commercialism can be solved by ensuring that the Olympics identifies the best commercial partners that promote Olympic values and ideas to the world. Olympics is considered to be the largest sports event in the world, and it, therefore, should be organized in a way that is acceptable to all cultures of the world. Commercial partners pay handsomely, hoping that the IOC will protect them and hold their values even though they contradict with the Olympics values (Price, 2011). The company should, therefore, find ways to finance the sports without having to compromise Olympic values. Some of the measure it can take is turning away private companies that want to broadcast Olympics at a fee to the audience to ensure that everyone with a tv set can watch the Olympics. By doing so, IOC will remain true to its values.


In conclusion, IOC should examine its strategies of financing the Olympics without having to compromise its values. The issue of broadcasting has remained crucial in ensuring that Olympism is realized, especially with the emergence of digital media. IOC has to adjust its strategies in broadcasting partnerships to avoid the complaints experienced in the United States of delayed tapes and excessive adverts. IOC should also find better sponsorship deals that promote health by preventing partnerships that promote an unhealthy lifestyle. Lastly, the Olympics games should find a balance between ancient traditions and modern expectations to ensure the Olympics games remain relevant. It should navigate with respect to traditions that have served the brand for years while also putting into consideration the relevance of the sports to future generations.


Giannoulakis, C., Stotlar, D., & Chatziefstathiou, D. (2008). Olympic sponsorship: evolution, challenges, and impact on the Olympic Movement. International Journal of Sports Marketing & Sponsorship, 9(4).

Davies, L. (2016). Sustainable urban legacies of hosting the Olympic Games. When sport meets business: Capabilities, challenges, critiques, 203.

Kenyon, J., & Palmer, C. (2008). Funding and sponsorship; the commercial impact of the 2012 London Olympic Games-some considerations. Journal of Qualitative Research in Sports Studies, 2(1), 29-44.

MacRury, I. (2017). Olympic cities and social change. In Olympic cities: 2012 and the remaking of London (pp. 321-344). Routledge.

Mestre, A. (2008). The legal basis of the Olympic Charter. The international sports law journal, (1-2), 100-102.

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