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What does the Paris 2024 sponsorship portfolio look like with one year until the Olympics?

Organisers of next year's Games appear on course to hit their sponsorship revenue target of €1.24bn. So are brands expecting Paris 2024 to be the friendliest marketing environment for Olympic sponsors in more than a decade?

28 Jul 2023 Sam Carp

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International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach was pictured posing in front of a giant Omega clock in Paris this week, which can only mean one thing: it’s one year until the start of the 2024 Olympic Games. 

To mark the milestone, Tuesday brought confirmation of the long-anticipated news that French luxury goods giant LMVH is taking the last of six premium partner slots for Paris 2024, which will see blue-chip brands like Moët Hennessy, Sephora, Luis Vuitton and Dior integrated into the event as part of a €150 million deal.

Tony Estanguet, the president of the organising committee (Cojo), told the AP this week that more than 20 new partners have signed up since the start of the year. He also revealed that the event has now passed the €1 billion mark in secured sponsorship revenue, meaning it is on course to smash through its original target of €1.1 billion – as well as its revised goal of €1.24 billion.

With 12 months before the action gets underway, here’s a quick breakdown of how they’ve got there.

What does the sponsorship portfolio look like?

Outside of the IOC’s 14 TOP partners, who have deals which span multiple editions of the Games and in some cases are worth hundreds of millions of dollars, there are three sponsorship tiers for Paris 2024.

Joining LMVH in the premium partner category are financial services company Groupe BPCE – which was the first to sign its deal as long ago as 2018 – supermarket chain Carrefour, energy firm EDF, telecommunications giant Orange and biopharmaceutical company Sanofi.

For the most part, financial terms of those deals are not public, but Le Parisien has reported that premium partners are paying between €80 million and €150 million for the privilege. Whatever the precise details are, those estimates suggest that those six brands account for more than half of the domestic sponsorship revenue for Paris 2024.

Below that, there are 14 official partners of the Games, including Accor, Air France and Cisco, as well as Danone, FDJ and PwC. Finally, companies such as Manchester United sleeve sponsor DXC Technology, event management platform OnePlan and CRM specialist Salesforce are among 29 official supporters of Paris 2024.

With the top positions now filled, it is those lower tiers that Cojo will be looking to grow to reach its revised revenue target.

Why are brands getting in so early?

Because it’s the Olympics, first of all.

The Games has a truly global audience and its self-described core values of excellence, friendship and respect have long been attractive to corporate sponsors, many of whom build entire marketing campaigns around the event in an Olympic year.

For domestic brands, a home Games also represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to engage with their core audience. Prior to the postponement, for example, Tokyo 2020 organisers had raised more than US$3 billion in locally sourced sponsorship revenue.

But 2024 arguably has the potential to be the friendliest marketing environment for Olympic sponsors since London 2012. The last Winter Olympics in Beijing were marred by reports of China’s human rights issues, while activity around the delayed summer Games in Tokyo a year earlier was subdued by the pandemic. Rio 2016, meanwhile, was overshadowed by logistical challenges and the 2014 and 2018 Winter Olympics took place against a backdrop of security concerns.

With next year also marking the first Summer Olympics since 2016 where fans are back in venues – 70 per cent of ten million available tickets had been sold as of June – sponsors will likely be preparing to make more noise than they have done around recent editions.

Are there any reasons for sponsors to be concerned?

There’s always something when it comes to the Olympics.

France is currently recovering from a summer of civil unrest and organisers will be keen for any lingering disquiet to be quashed by the time the Games arrive. They will have been boosted by the results of a recent poll – it should be said this was commissioned by the organising committee – which found that more than 70 per cent of the French public supports the Olympics taking place in Paris.

Meanwhile, questions are being asked after French police raided the Paris 2024 headquarters last month as part of two preliminary corruption investigations, which relate to allegations of favouritism and misuse of public money in the attribution of construction contracts.

Some sponsors may also be looking out for the IOC’s long-awaited decision on Russian and Belarusian participation at the Games before deciding how big they want to go on the event.

Either way, the IOC will be hoping for minimal outside noise to ensure sponsors feel comfortable maximising their activation rights this time around. After several cycles of hosting distractions and declining viewership in some key markets, it could go a long way towards encouraging some of those TOP partners with expiring deals to stick around.

How’s your fanxiety?

Ever felt stressed watching your favourite team? Well Coors Light reckons it has a solution.

Last week, the beer brand launched a ‘fanxiety scarf’ to celebrate its sponsorship of the Leagues Cup, the new midseason World Cup-style tournament featuring MLS and Liga MX clubs. The accessory is equipped with cooling technology, a built-in neck massager and, of course, two beer pockets for fans to store their refreshments.

It made me think of a similar activation from this time last year by Manchester City and their partner Cisco, which launched a connected scarf to track supporters’ emotions, physiology and movement to help the club better understand fan behaviour.

Equally bizarre. But also – more of this type of thing please.

Coors Light has launched a ‘Fanxiety Scarf’ for the Leagues Cup (Image credit: Coors Light)

Top dealers

After signing a deal with Formula One, Paramount+ has clearly identified soccer as a key marketing platform for driving awareness across Europe.

This week saw the streaming service announced as the main partner of German soccer club Union Berlin, who will be playing in the Champions League for the first time this season. That deal, reportedly worth €5 million per season, comes after the brand doubled down on its commitment to Inter Milan by agreeing to become the shirt sponsor of the Serie A giants on a permanent basis.

Paramount+ remains less than a year old in Italy and Germany, so giving its brand weekly exposure in those markets’ top domestic soccer leagues will help familiarise fans with the platform. And for the clubs, there are worse things than being paid to advertise Paramount’s globally recognised mountain emblem.

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