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US Olympic and Paralympic Committee launch 'Athlete Marketing Programme'

The United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) has announced an ‘Athlete Marketing Programme’ to provide more opportunities for athletes to expose themselves to brands.

The programme, whilst assisting athletes in marketing themselves, will also be an opportunity to level-out the top-heavy Olympic sponsorship landscape.

“For the majority of athletes who never get any opportunity, it’s a fair and a great way to get some exposure,” said agent Sheryl Shade to The Associated Press. “For the big-name athletes, this is not where they’re going to get their sponsorships.”

The new scheme from the USOPC will be opened up voluntarily to athletes, delivering three ways that they can connect with previous sponsors of Team USA, one of those being a US$1,250 payment to an athlete, simply for signing up to allow their name, image and likeness to be used in different group marketing situations, which will feature a further three or more athletes from differing sports backgrounds.

The other two ways include athletes being able to earn royalties off of the sale of licensed merchandise containing their name, image or likeness and an agreement that they will be able to both sign and negotiate their own endorsement deals with current Team USA sponsors.

Chris Madzer, an athlete representative from the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) executive board said: “AMP is the result of months of work with the Athletes’ Advisory Council, the National Governing Bodies and experts in the field of individual and group marketing programs.

“In a world where sporting success is measured in thousandths of a second on an icy track (like me, in the sport of luge) and where conditions often out of our control can be the difference between gold and silver, AMP is specifically designed to level the playing field when it comes to commercial opportunity.”

As part of the programme, the USOPC has partnered with athlete marketing platform Opendorse, which will give athletes a portal to make profiles that will directly them with connect current sponsors.

Athletes will be invited to take part in the Athlete Marketing Programme from January 2021, with the group marketing scheme open to those who finished in the top eight individual or top six in a team event in the most recent world championship or equivalent top-tier event, whereas the individual marketing programme will be open to those who competed in either the most recent world championships or who have qualified for the Tokyo Olympics.

Author: Jake Wilkin