These companies are spending big in Sochi

Olympic sponsors are pouring hundreds of millions into the games, hoping for a bigger return in sales, publicity and branding.

By Benzinga Feb 6, 2014 3:21PM

Volunteers pose for a picture in front of the Olympic rings at the Olympic Park at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics
© Marko Djurica/Reuters

By Victoria Novikova


"Go big or go home" isn't the mantra of just Olympic athletes anymore.


With more pomp, circumstance and security threats than any other global athletic event, the Sochi Olympics may deserve its own medal -- or at least those backing it do.


The competitive events of the sponsors span from breaking the $500 billion advertising spending barrier to a setting a record with the $100 million partner buy-in fee.


Risk and reward run at an all-time high and advertising budgets adjust accordingly. This begs the question of whether markets will too.


Here are the partner teams to root for if they sit in your portfolio:


Team Atos

Meet the IT nerve center of the entire Olympics. Atos will address security and risk management, along with games management and information diffusion systems. Analysts estimated that Atos provided goods and services totaling roughly $326 million for the London Games.


When it comes to Sochi, however, demands for grandeur, and thus infrastructure that can deliver this, have far surpassed those of London -- and by a considerable margin at that.


Team Coca-Cola (KO)

Bringing beverages and Olympic torches alike could pave Coca-Cola's road to gold. 

During the three months leading up to the London Games, the company saw global 

volumes grow by 4 percent, while revenue grew by one percent. Traveling through the capitals of 83 federal subjects in Russia over 123 days during the Olympic Torch Relay, Coca-Cola will touch almost every part of Russia with its massive promotional campaign.


Not to mention it's the ideal window of opportunity for it to expand its Active Healthy Living Showcase -- a mobile platform that informs individuals about the ways in which they can be active anytime, anywhere.


Team Dow Chemical (DOW)

Its technologies will be used in hotels, railways, souvenir bags – you name it. After joining the Olympic sponsorship program in 2010, Dow projected that it will realize $1 billion in revenue from the 10-year sponsorship deal, all the while reducing the Olympic-sized carbon footprint Sochi will leave behind.


DOW will be celebrating both its 40-year presence in Russia and its unique role as the official Carbon Partner of the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee. That's two birds down with one highly effective stone.


Team General Electric (GE)

As this company remains the go-to brand for anything energy and health care related when it comes to the Olympics, its growth opportunities in emerging market gain momentum. It seeks to increase its sales by $1 billion between the 2014 and 2016 Olympics. Given that the Beijing Games alone brought in $700 million in sales, its target may even be a conservative estimate.


The extra publicity generated as the Elite Partner of the Russian snowboarding/ski team and the donor of medical infrastructure to Russia's Krasnodarsky Region couldn't hurt either.


Team McDonald's (MCD)

Despite the activist hijacking of portions of its ad campaign, there is no expense McDonald's won't spare for this winter's games. It's building two 24-hour restaurants near the Coastal Cluster Athletes' Village and will have another five permanent restaurants located in Sochi.


During the London Games, the restaurants located in the athletes' village were 10 to 12 times busier than the average restaurant and provided 13,000 meals to 55,000 customers during its busiest day. That's not including establishments outside the village. Overall, McDonald's saw a 3.1 percent sales lift in the UK during the London Games.


Team Panasonic (PCRFF)

Five LED screens with total area of 745 square meters, 9,000 surveillance cameras, 50 ultra-bright projectors, 3,000 monitors and countless ways to stay tuned in through its broadcasting equipment. Most of the London Games' numbers pale in comparison.


Will this be the case of the revenue benchmark (which currently sits at $64 million)? Stay tuned to find out.


Team Procter & Gamble (PG)

With more than seven brands making their appearance in the Olympics, P&G expects a $150 million sales hike from advertising and promotional ventures during the Olympics. The lineup ranges from gold medalist skier Lindsey Vonn as the face of Olay to Russian hockey player Alexander Ovechkin and Dutch speed skater Sven Kramer for Gillette.


That's just the tip of that promotional iceberg. After the $500 million in sales that its renowned "Thank You Mom" ad brought in during the London Games, P&G has decided to debut its sequel. Be sure to watch not only the "Pick Them Back Up" ad but especially the rapid revenue influx after.


Team Samsung (SSNLF)

Samsung is giving all the athletes the Galaxy Note 3 smart phone, re-launching its sports commentary app called "Samsung Stadium" and carrying the Sochi Olympic experience to Twitter via its Twitter Amplify service.


Not only does Samsung have the weight of more than 80 Olympic athletes from 20 countries behind it (via its largest Galaxy Team ever), but it also has a lofty cushion to fall back on ever since it reported record-breaking profit in Q3 2013.


Team Swatch Group (Omega)

The Sochi Games run on Omega time. With innovative timers, countdown clocks and limited-edition timepieces from the company, these games will set a new bar for accuracy and style. The Omega Pavilion will be the crown jewel in this sponsorship. While the worth of its work remains under wraps, it's all about the timing -- and this company's could be just right.


Team Visa (V)

Leveraging social media, television and digital advertising, Visa is bringing its "social by 

design" campaign to life. From its mobile game that allows users to compete for tickets to its branding at major retail chains, Visa's presence will reach far beyond the walls of the stadium.


With spending during the London Games increasing by 8 percent by Visa card holders during the first week alone, this campaign could set some records of its own.


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