London 2012 Olympics Plans To Profit Online

London 2012 Olympics organisers aim to make money from their online operations, including capitalising on a domestic commercial straitjacket around the host broadcaster.

“It’s part of my department’s mission to be revenue-generating and deliver positive cashflow,” new media head Alex Balfour told the Social Media Influence conference in London on Tuesday. “There’s a huge, huge sponsorship opportunity.

At previous Olympics, broadcasters have keenly sought to profit from their rightsholder status by running premium advertising at home, Balfour said. “But the BBC doesn’t and that’s pretty much unique. For us, it’s an exceptional opportunity. We have 35-plus sponsors at the moment and there’s no way for them to activate (on UK TV) at all. That’s an opportunity for us to drive revenue.

“We’ll do it through straightforward sales but bring social media in as well.” Sponsorship opportunities could include around a results service on the games’ official website.

Although the BBC will be carrying the Olympics in the UK, Channel 4’s carriage of the Paralympics will afford commercial opportunities, Balfour said.

The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) has targeted having a £2 billion budget from private sources, on top of its £9 billion in public funds, though Balfour wouldn’t disclose his budget for his digital department, which numbers a team of six, supported by a technical team.