Olympics suppliers losing out

Posted on 12 Jun 2012 by The Manufacturer

Limitations on marketing rights for suppliers to the Olympics are stifling the economic benefit the Games should be bringing to the UK, says Jane Gray.

From The Independent to the regional business publication in-Cumbria the story of angry UK businesses being gagged and prevented from capitalising on their status as suppliers to the London 2012 Olympics has finally bubbled to the surface.

No marketing clauses are designed to protect the investments of multi-million pound headline sponsors for the Olympics, but they are having the additional effect of limiting the economic benefit to Britain of hosting the games.

Speaking to TM, a spokesperson from one Olympics supplier which has been frustrated in its attempts to talk about the way it is supporting the iconic event said: “We have tried a number of times to get Locog’s approval for the simplest publications and promotions of the support we are giving to the Olympics and it has been turned down every time.”

Amazingly this has included work done to train apprentices at the Olympic site, thereby missing a prime opportunity to show young people how a career in manufacturing can lead to involvement with high profile, glamorous and exciting projects. “It is extremely frustrating and limits the value of getting involved for us,” concluded the spokesperson.

Another supplier, potentially part of the much lauded sustainable supply chain for London’s Olympic Games, told TM that attempts to get around the marketing protocols “get political” due to Locog’s fears of upsetting sponsors. Although this supplier has offices in the energy centre at the Olympic Park and can host customer days there, it also has to ask journalists not to write about the company’s involvement with the Olympic Games.

According to The Independent, around 75,000 UK firms have had to sign up to the no marketing clause and it has certainly affected TM’s ability to celebrate the contribution being made by hundreds of UK manufacturers to this once-in-a-lifetime business opportunity for the UK.

Given the dire economic straights the UK, and all of Europe, is suffering under surely these rules should be revisited to allow more firms to market their involvement and maximise on the potential economic benefit the games should bring.

Essential to the UK’s winning bid for London 2012 was its promise to create a lasting legacy for the Games – how is this reflected in the decision to gag suppliers?

See more on UK manufacturing and the London 2012 Olympic Games in the July issue of TM