The O(ver)lympics

Geez, finally, the Phelpslympics are over. I can only watch so many butterfly heats, 3.1-difficulty dives, volleyball spikes, ribbon dances and 30-point basketball blowouts before it gets just a tad uninteresting.

Yet from a marketing standpoint, there are three cool things to take a good, long look at. One is which of the big medal winners will cash in for endorsement dollars (Phelps of course, Lebron, Kobe…feel free to keep going). Ok, that’s an easy one.

Second is, what cool things did we see that were new, different, etc. (and useful to marketers). The opening and closing ceremonies of course. Huge marketing opportunities. How? Well, for example, with all the Internet buzz created by the hot girl from Paraguay spotted in the opening ceremony, there’s gotta be a way for, say, Hooters, to infuse hot, branded models into the crowd of marching athletes. Well, then there’s the whole damn list of venues, obviously (Bird’s Nest, etc.). I think those just became a huge sponsorship opportunity too. Can’t you see the Apple iStadium coming to a future Olympics? Then there’s that cool little World-Record-pace line that follows the participants across the pool during the swimming events. Could easily have Nemo or some other animated character pulling it across the pool to promote a movie or DVD release.

Third is, what will the future Olympics bring? Well, as Mark Cuban points out in his latest post, it could be an ESPN-hosted 2016 Olympics (thank God, hopefully). Yahoo’s Fourth-Place Medal blog also had a post (complete with ESPN-like humor) on the topic. Seriously, that would be the best thing. We’d get less Costas-drama-setting and more real-athlete analysis and experience-telling. Although, the funny ideas suggested by the Yahoo blog may not be too far off. I can already hear Chris Berman calling the discus throw with his “Back, back, back…” call. However, he’d be making the call on an Olympic broadcast set “Built by Home Depot” or “Driven by GMC” or “Powered by General Electric.” Because when ESPN broadcasts, passionate sports fans tune in and watch…and marketers’ dollars follow.

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