What with the lost team buses and many security guards not being ready in time for the start of the Olympic games there has been a tendency in the media to criticise the games – and this is even before they have started.
One of the main bones of contention is with the supporting partners – the companies who directly help to find the games with financial support or provide critical infrastructure, without which there would be no Olympics. The media has been almost relentless in the pursuit of examples of sponsor madness and yet there is little to distinguish how sponsors are behaving in London when compared with – for example – the most recent football World Cup in South Africa.
Who can forget the stories from the World Cup of fans ejected from stadiums for wearing visible brand logos on shirts – even groups of fans all wearing the same shirt and mini-skirt to advertise a particular brand of beer?
All the partners in a major sporting event are an important part of what is needed to make it happen. Some provide the critical technical infrastructure that means a result in London can be viewed instantly the world over. Some are just making sure that the fans on the ground are fed and watered and have clean bathrooms available – it may sound less important, but try controlling 100,000 fans without offering them anything to eat or drink.
So let’s try to cut some slack for the Olympic partners – all of them. From timing devices to soft drinks to food to technology, all of these components are required to make the Olympic games work. And these companies have all put their reputation on the line by promising to deliver at such a high profile event – we should be offering them more praise – though perhaps that can wait for a couple of weeks, when we can see that it has all gone well!
Photo by Lloyd Rich licensed under Creative Commons