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“Sponsoring Rio 2016™ means sponsoring Rio de Janeiro and Brazil”. This concept defines the work of Rodrigo Frazão, the Rio 2016™ Olympic and Paralympic Games Organising Committee’s Director of Sponsorship Sales, and his team in the Commercial Department. More than just an event, Rodrigo sells an idea, backed up by around 50 partnerships that Rio 2016™ will form.
As of May 2012, six organisations had completed negotiations and were walking hand-in-hand with the world’s biggest sports event in 2016: Banco Bradesco, Bradesco Seguros, Embratel, Claro, Nissan and Ernst&YoungTerco. In the coming months, partners in the Mining and Oil & Gas categories will be announced.
“We are selling the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, but there are many moments in which Rio de Janeiro is most important. Rio has a lot of force, Rio and Brazil. We speak with the entire world. Many sponsors have their headquarters outside the country, and we have a lot of contact with foreigners. It’s great to talk about Rio, talk about Brazil, which is now the country of the present. Our numbers are grandiose”, he says.
Unlike most of the Organising Committee’s functional areas, the Sponsorship Sales area, led by Rodrigo, is getting smaller over time. There will be nine people working there in the coming months, negotiating contracts in the market through bids. In 2016, however, the team will be smaller. At the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, for example, the equivalent team has had as many as 11 professionals, but now, shortly before the Games, it has just two.
The best platform in Brazil
The Sponsorship Sales team is divided into four blocks. Three of them deal with direct sales, i.e., capturing and presenting commercial properties to potential sponsors, which are major companies. The other block takes care of sales intelligence, i.e., it identifies the Organising Committee’s demands and market potential in terms of sponsors, working internally with the Applications and Procurement areas.
To make a partnership with Rio 2016™, a company’s values are fundamental. According to Rodrigo Frazão, long-term planning and bold strategies are essential for a relationship that does not only involve financial resources and image.
“When you talk about mature markets like in Europe, for example, a company that associates itself with the Games will have much more of a position to maintain its markets than to gain markets. The Games here in Brazil have a very important role, because Brazil is a strategic market, as the market here is set to grow a lot more. This may be a great tool for companies to use to leverage their growth, as a strategy”, says Frazão.
“You need to understand where your company wants to be in 2016 or in 2020, and what role the Games can have for your company. When you think from this angle, you see that there is no other platform as big and relevant as this in Brazil today, like this one we are offering. In addition, it’s an opportunity to participate in, and to add knowledge to, an unparalleled event – the first Games in Brazil and South America”, he says.
Absorption of large events by the market
One of the fundamental reasons for the victory of Brazil’s Olympic and Paralympic bid in October 2009 was the guaranteed capacity to absorb two mega sports events in an interval of two years by a market that is still expanding. Over the next four years, Brazil will receive the FIFA World Cup in 2014 and the Rio 2016™ Olympic and Paralympic Games.
According to Rodrigo Frazão, there is no more doubt in the market. The results obtained in the first partnerships entered into exceeded expectations, and prospects for negotiations currently under way are extremely positive for both sides.
“Brazil has large companies and a very large market. In various sectors, we have more than one large player. You can have enormous sponsors for the World Cup and, within this same sector, other enormous, competitive companies for the Olympic Games”, says the director, noting that exclusivity in each category is guaranteed by contract, protecting the partner and providing a series of opportunities.
Among its 50 or so partners, the Rio 2016™ Organising Committee will have official Olympic sponsors and official Olympic supporters, as well as worldwide Olympic sponsors, whose negotiations are conducted directly with the International Olympic Committee. The same process takes place for the Paralympic Games. Four years before the Opening Ceremony, the competition to sponsor Rio 2016™ is already fierce. Everyone wants to sponsor Rio. Everyone is betting on the future of Brazil.