The man who sold the world

March 1, 2010   |   Posted by Shaun McCarthy

It could be said that the Corinthian Spirit sold her soul many years ago, that amateur elite sport has not existed for 30 years or more and that the Olympics these days are all about big money and sponsorship. How can the Games be sustainable if it is all about money? The structure of London 2012 reinforces this. The organisation responsible for investment in facilities is a public body (ODA) and funded with public money, whereas the organisation responsible for staging the Games (LOCOG) is a government-owned private company required to raise from private sources all of the £2 billion needed to stage the Games; mostly television rights, ticket sales, sponsorship and licensing merchandise. Everything is for sale. Companies are invited to pay cash, provide services for free, or both, in return for various levels of brand recognition to a global TV audience. Doubters question how such a hard-headed commercial environment could possibly deliver sustainable outcomes. Our most recent report on LOCOG’s procurement and commercial partnerships demonstrates that they are doing rather well. This starts to demonstrate that naked capitalism and sustainability are not mutually exclusive, and that profitable and sustainable solutions are there to be had for smart companies. …