If the World Cup Were the Olympics You Wouldn’t See This…
July 22, 2014
The recent end of the World Cup can’t pass without pointing out one thing.
If the World Cup were the Olympics you never would have seen this:
Beats, Nike, Gatorade, Pepsi, and Samsung are not Official World Cup partners yet they all had soccer themed ads featuring World Cup players.
That’s definitely not allowed during the Olympics.
Rule 40 of the Olympic charter prevents advertising featuring Olympics athletes from non official Olympic sponsors during a “blackout” period that started a week before the 2012 Olympics and ended three days after.
It’s time for the rule to go. The USOC’s own guidelines on the rule admit it started with the amateur roots of the Olympics:
The rationale for Rule 40 goes back to the amateur roots of the Olympic movement. The Rule ensured that athletes maintained their amateur status. The Games have, of course, moved on and in the majority of sports professional athletes now compete in the Games. However, to protect against ambush marketing; prevent unauthorized commercialization of the Games; and to protect the integrity of athletes’ performance at the Games, the IOC places certain limits on how a Participant’s image can be exploited during the Rule 40 Period.
Let’s cut the bs and remove talk about athletes being “exploited” and protecting the “integrity of athletes’ performance at the Games”. If Coke’s athletes can be used in advertising but Pepsi’s can’t this has nothing to do with protecting the integrity of anything except the IOC’s advertising monopoly.
We get it, the IOC in theory gets more money for its sponsorships if no guerilla marketing is allowed. However, you know who doesn’t get more money as a whole, the athletes. Economics 101 says the IOC will get less money if there is competition but the athletes as a whole will get more money. Shouldn’t the IOC as a whole care about the athletes more than itself?
Every other major sporting event in the world does not have a “blackout period” that prevents athletes from earning a living. It’s time for the Olympics to follow suit. The amateur era ended years ago and the Olympics lets its own sponsors “exploit” athletes all they want.
At the start of the next Olympics, we’d love to see Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt, both come out and say they are going to allow their likeness to be used in commercials during the Games. You think the IOC would really kick them out of the Games?
The Olympics are the greatest sporting tradition in the world. They need to keep up with the times. Rule 40 must go and the only way that will happen is if a few high profile athletes take a stand for what is right.