By the Staff of NYSportsJournalism.com
January 13, 2016: The role that the Special Olympics World Games played in helping to get Los Angeles selected as the U.S. Olympic Committee's representing city to bid on the 2024 Summer Games can not be underestimated.
Los Angeles, which hosted the Summer Olympics in 1932 and 1984, was tapped by the USOC after first being bypassed (along with San Francisco and Washington DC) in favor of Boston. When Boston officials chose to reject the nomination, Los Angeles was back, and the Special Olympics World Games were given an added degree of focus.
With the Special Olympics World Games are being staged in the U.S. for the first time since 1999 (Raleigh, N.C.), organizers called it the "single biggest event in Los Angeles since the 1984 Olympic Games." And it lived up to its billing
From July 25-Aug. 2, Los Angeles hosted 7,000 athletes and 3,000 coaches representing 177 countries, 30,000 volunteers and an estimated 500,000 spectators
Founding Champions and partners included AEG, Bank of America, Coca-Cola, Finish Line, Mattel, NBA, NCAA, Procter & Gamble, Safeway, Toyota, Toys R Us, U.S. Golf Assn., Kate Capshaw & Steven Spielberg, Kaiser Permanente, The David Geffen Foundation, WWE, The Walt Disney Company and The Knights of Columbus.
“It’s a natural fit,” Julie Kessler, director for Special Olympics World Games 2015, Coca-Cola, which has been a Special Olympics partner for almost a half-century, said in a statement. “Special Olympics and Coca-Cola both champion acceptance and celebrate the courage, determination and joy of these incredible athletes.”
ESPN, with focus on the athletes themselves, covered the entire event, including Opening Ceremony from the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, daily competition, nightly highlights, Closing Ceremony and other cultural activities.
Viewers worldwide had access to ESPN’s coverage via its networks and media platforms.
Among the marketing by sponsors:
Coke’s support of the Games extended to the market via a commemorative 8-oz. glass bottle, outdoor advertising and retail promotions encouraging consumers to support Special Olympics by volunteering or donating.
Toyota created a Special Olympics digital hub — “Journey to the Games” — which showcased agh brand's various activities leading up to the World Games this summer and throughout the Games itself. Toyota activation also included in-store activations and events at Toyota dealers and support from Team Toyota Nascar driver Clint Bowyer.
Kaiser Permanente created “Be Brave,” an integrated campaign featuring seven Special Olympians from Southern California, ads with actress Allison Janney, billboards, Internet, mobile and social media.
WWE employed "all its platforms," including WWE Network, TV and PPV broadcasts, live events, digital, social media and its athletes as spokespersons "to generate awareness and support of the World Games.”
The U.S. Postal Service issued a commemorative Forever stamp to support the Special Olympics World Games.
From May 26 - July 10, the Unified Relay Across America presented by Bank of America saw participants relay the Flame of Hope via three simultaneous cross-country routes, covering all 50 states, ultimately converging in Los Angeles prior to the World Games. The event included more than 20,000 participants.
“This is an incredible opportunity to support a truly global event and we’re taking a holistic approach, from our sponsorship investment at the national level, support vehicles and engaging local fundraising efforts across the country to the hundreds of Toyota employees who will volunteer at the World Games,” Jim Lentz, CEO of Toyota North America, said in a statement. “The world is coming to Los Angeles and we are proud to join the Special Olympics World Games and support our shared values of acceptance and inclusion.”
“The Special Olympics World Games is a truly compelling event, filled with some of the most extraordinary sports stories and people you will ever see, and we are looking forward to showcasing them,” Russell Wolff, evp-ESPN International, said of the event. “Sports has the power to be unifying, uplifting and life-changing, and this event will be a remarkable and tangible example of that power.”
Back to Top Sports Marketers of the Year 2015
Back to Home Page