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2016 Rio Olympics aim for record sponsorship haul

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Simon Chadwick, a professor at Coventry University in England who researches sports marketing trends, said any delay in cutting sponsorship deals could be costly.

"If the organizers get into a situation where there are financial shortfalls and they need that sponsorship revenue to plug a gap, obviously sponsors then can smell blood," he said. "They can sense desperation if the organizers are starting to panic. I don’t think it’s a particular concern right now, but it’s an issue."

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Sidney Levy, the chief executive officer of the Rio 2016 organizing committee, has been negotiating the operating budget with government officials, and a new budget has been promised for months.

Levy declined to be interviewed for this article.

"We’ll have no further comment on the budget until we get it formally released," organizers said in an email to the AP.

"You have the double-whammy of two events," Chadwick said. "I think it’s a massive ask of corporate Brazil to commit to such huge financial resources to two sets of sponsorship deals. My sense of Brazil right now is that they have overextended themselves. The cost implications of staging two mega events is just too much."

Sponsors strive for image and brand awareness, and Chadwick said they are cautious about how their brands might be portrayed.

"If people are concerned about civil unrest and the way the mega events are being run, and they don’t like what governments are doing — they note this and listen to their consumers. And if their consumers don’t like it, they will take action in response to that," Chadwick said.

Tarpaulins covered Coca-Cola advertising displayed near Rio’s Maracana Stadium during the Confederations Cup, a safeguard against the logo being caught in photos of soldiers and police battling angry protesters; or worse — defaced or ripped down.

Former IOC marketing director Michael Payne said Brazil’s World Cup spending had hurt the Olympics. He said Brazil’s plan to use 12 stadiums for the World Cup — four of which are seen as white elephants — had "contaminated" some spending on the Olympics. FIFA required only eight stadiums, but Brazilian states lobbied hard for pet projects and Brazil’s soccer federation went along.

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One of the stadiums is being built in Manaus in the Brazilian state of Amazonas. A judge there has suggested, since it has no use after the World Cup, the stadium could be converted to a prisoner processing center.

"You’ve got to ask yourself: Why did they need those four extra stadiums?" Payne said. "As a result it makes all forms of sporting capital investment somewhat radioactive, even if the investments in Rio were legitimate. Those four stadiums have become the poster child for badly focused capital investment."


Follow Stephen Wade at http://twitter.com/StephenWadeAP

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