What Tokyo 2020 Will Mean For Olympic & Paralympic Sponsorship

Following up on my analysis last week of the Istanbul, Madrid and Tokyo sponsorship proposals in their 2020 bids, here's my take on what Tokyo’s emphatic victory in Buenos Aires on Saturday will mean for Olympic and Paralympic sponsorship.

1. Olympic Marketing will move into a distinctly Asian cycle after Rio 2016, with Rio being followed by Pyeongchang 2018 and now Tokyo 2020, offering Games partners the opportunity, as the Pyeongchang Games' leader pointed out in an interview with Reuters on Monday, to 'awaken Asia's great potential'.

2. An unintended consequence of Tokyo's win is that the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan now becomes much more strategically important. Brands locked out of Tokyo 2020 by category-exclusive global and domestic Olympic deals will view the RWC as a counter-attacking opportunity, and in turn I suspect many Tokyo Games sponsors will be tempted to add the RWC to their portfolios to block this.

3. As I noted last week, Tokyo’s business case, underpinned by the size and strength of the Japanese economy, was one of the trump cards in its bid, and it played a key part in its final presentation, with Tokyo bid leader Masato Mizuno skilfully emphasising the scale and commercial potential of the Asian and Japanese markets for the IOC and its stakeholders:"The Games will deliver the biggest live primetime TV audience in history, the biggest local ticketing market, and the greatest possible commercial success. Already, our bid has 21 corporate sponsors, and the IOC can focus on your own crucial programmes to promote Olympism worldwide."

4. For an early indication of some of the companies likely to populate the Tokyo 2020 domestic sponsorship programme, Tokyo's 21 corporate sponsors are a good primer as they were so closely aligned to many of the proposed categories in the Tokyo Candidate File.


5. Close the book on which category Tokyo 2020 will sign up first - but not which brand. One of Tokyo's bid sponsors, Toyota, stated last week that they intended to become the first Tokyo 2020 domestic sponsor if Tokyo won. A great gesture of support for the Tokyo bid, which will also have rung the bells at Nissan, sponsors of Rio 2016. Watch that space.

6. With that kind of competition likely in numerous categories, I'm sticking to the prediction I made last week that Tokyo will sell well over $1 billion of domestic sponsorship, and perhaps as much as $2 billion given favourable economic conditions.

7. There’s not much doubt which of the three rival cities Panasonic would have been rooting for, or that they will now be looking to quickly extend their IOC sponsorship to 2020: currently they are one of three of the ten IOC global sponsors whose current contract ends in 2016 rather than 2020. But with Sony's FIFA contract ending in 2014, and Russia and Qatar, er, beckoning if they renew, we could see Sony taking a run at Panasonic's IOC category.

8. The IOC's ten global sponsors always remain neutral about Host City bids, but I suspect that a poll of them on which city they preferred would have resulted in a split for first choice between Istanbul and Tokyo, with the B2C brands preferring Istanbul because of Turkey’s burgeoning youth market, the B2B brands favouring Tokyo as Japan is home to so many big businesses, and Madrid very much third owing to the weakness of the Spanish economy.

9. My colleague Alex Balfour, former London 2012 Head of New Media and now our Chief Digital Officer here at Engine, made these predictions on Twitter just after the IOC vote about what new technologies we were likely to see at the Tokyo Games:



10. I mentioned last week that I felt Tokyo stole a march on its rivals by looking at Paralympic sponsorship separately in its bid, earning it plaudits from IOC. This came strongly to mind when the wonderful Japanese Paralympian Mami Sato gave the most uplifting and inspirational of all the speeches in the 2020 bid presentations, about how sport saved her from despair after losing her leg to cancer. Japanese brands will no doubt have taken note, and as a result I'm sure that after the unprecedented success of London 2012, Tokyo 2020 will take the Paralympics to new marketing and sponsorship heights.