Despite the pandemic-related challenges, brands have shown strong interest in associating with the upcoming Tokyo Olympic Games and backing the Indian contingent as well as individual athletes with sponsorship deals.

After a delay of nearly an year, the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 are slated to kickstart on July 23.

Sponsors roped in

The official broadcaster, Sony Pictures Sports Network, has roped in a slew of sponsors for the live telecast.

While Coca-Cola, Hero Motocorp, Amul, JSW and Mobile Premier League (MPL) have come on board as co-presenting sponsors, Association of Mutual Funds in India, RBI, Visa, Lenovo, Byju’s and Herbalife Nutrition have signed up as the associate sponsors. Brands are expected to shell out ₹4 crore to ₹8 crore, depending on the package they pick up.

Rohit Gupta, Chief Revenue Officer, Ad Sales & International Business, Sony Pictures Networks India, said: “Over the past few years, we have seen a big surge in advertisers spending money on non-cricketing sports.

The engagement levels on sporting events are very high, especially when it comes to the youth aged 18-28 years. Brands want to be associated with prestigious global sporting events and, hence, their interest levels has been very good.”

Indian viewers will be able to watch the Olympics action on Sony SIX, Sony TEN 2, Sony TEN 3 and Sony TEN 4 channels.

Brands such as Edelweiss, Herbalife Nutrition, Inox Group, Amul, Nippon Paint, JSW, and SRL Diagnostics, among others, are backing the 228-strong Indian contingent by inking sponsorship deals with the Indian Olympic Association.

’To promote sports’

Neerav Tomar, MD & CEO, IOS Sports & Entertainment, which is the official marketing agency of IOA, said: “There has been a strong interest seen from sponsors, which has surpassed the levels, seen during Rio Olympics. Despite the challenges due to the second wave of the pandemic, nine brands have already signed deals with IOA to come on board as sponsors for the Indian contingent.

“The objective behind our association with IOA is to develop and promote sports across India, be it physical or digital.”

“We want to leverage the upcoming Olympics as a vehicle to raise awareness about the many athletes who have achieved significant,” said Sai Srinivas, Trustee, MPL Sports Foundation.

S Ganeshkumar, COO, Raymond Lifestyle Business, the official style partner for IOA, stated that younger consumers now have an interest in a diverse set of sports beyond cricket. “The other sports are now gaining grounds and pulling advertisers, especially if the sporting event is linked to the national pride and patriotism,” he added.

Many brands such as Thums Up have also inked strategic individual sponsorship deals with athletes.

Mustafa Ghouse, CEO, JSW Sports, said: “Interestingly, it’s not just the medal prospects or the big names that brands want to be linked with. The unheralded Indian athletes who have made the cut in not-so-mainstream disciplines, too, have been getting attention from brands who want to be associated with their stories. That said, there is a very small number of athletes who would be on par with cricketers when it comes to commanding money.”