Torch Relay Sponsorship – What’s your opinion?

As we prepare for the Winter Olympics, with opening ceremonies coming this Friday evening, I wanted to take a chance to discuss an article that attracted my interest a few weeks back.

The article, written on Canada’s CBC News website, talked about sponsorship of the Olympic Torch Relay, and how many spectators coming forward were opposed to the “corporate” feel of the event.

Now while I do understand why some Olympic traditionalists have issues with corporate branding, but like any other sponsored event, shouldn’t we accept the company’s presence as a plus?  I mean, the main sponsors of this relay not only helped to bring the torch to practically every region of Canada, they are also helping to fund the Olympic Games.

I wonder if the people interviewed in the article represent just one opinion of event attendees, or if research would show that this is a general consensus amongst relay viewers?

What is your opinion?

If you would like to check out the article that spurred this post, just click the link below:


After posting this blog last night I received a flurry of internal feedback regarding my criticism of public reaction to the corporate presence of the torch relay.  The feelings coming from within our offices are that we know what the sponsor does in supporting the event and how it’s their support making things possible, but ultimately it is their job to express participation in an unobtrusive manner to the attendees and participants.  By doing this, the fans and viewing public can grow to appreciate the corporation’s support, rather than considering them exploiters of the event’s goodwill.

Also, the article that was referenced in the blog post above mentioned Coca-Cola as one of the sponsor’s of the torch relay.  It should be noted that Coca-Cola has been formally involved with the torch relay since 1992 and with the Olympic Games since 1928.  Certainly this length of time and their high level of commitment shows how much passion they have for the Olympics and the people that the torch reaches.

As a Performance Research Senior Report Manager stated earlier, “given all that the sponsors do to help the relay and the Olympics, it’s regretful that they are facing such a challenge in getting this message across to the people without seeming like advertisers”.