Bennet, Colleagues Introduce Resolution Against Ambush Marketing in the Olympics

Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet, along with Senators Mark Begich (D-AK), John Boozman (R-AR) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) have introduced a resolution to discourage companies not officially associated with the Olympic and Paralympic movement from participating in ambush marketing activities.

Ambush marketing is an advertising strategy in which companies associate themselves with an event without paying sponsorship fees.  In this case it is the Olympics and Team USA athletes that are disadvantaged by ambush marketing.  Team USA, unlike teams in other countries, is funded entirely though corporate sponsorships.    

“Team USA and athletes from around the world spend countless days training in hopes of claiming a piece of Olympic glory,” Bennet said. “Companies should hold themselves to the highest standards when associating with the Olympics and Paralympics.  Their efforts should focus on benefiting Team USA and not unethical exploitation of our Olympians’ successes.”

The resolution recognizes the growth of the Olympics and Paralympics in the United States and around the world and the dedication and work of our nation’s athletes. It expresses the sense of the Senate that ambush marketing must not be condoned, especially those efforts that adversely affect Team USA’s sponsorships. The resolution states that any U.S. corporations currently participating in ambush marketing should cease those activities.

Bennet is a co-chair of the Congressional Olympic and Paralympic Caucus. The United States Olympic Committee is headquartered in Colorado Springs.

The full text of the resolution is included below:

Expressing the sense of the Senate that ambush marketing adversely affects Team USA and the Olympic and Paralympic Movements and should not be condoned.

Whereas the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games will occur on July 27 through August 12 and August 29 through September 9, respectively;

Whereas more than 10,500 athletes from 204 nations will compete in 26 Olympic sports, while 4,200 Paralympic athletes will compete in 20 sports;

Whereas Team USA athletes have spent countless days, months, and years training in hopes of earning a spot on the United States Olympic or Paralympic teams;

Whereas the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act

(1) made the United States Olympic Committee the coordinating body for all Olympic-related and Paralympic-related athletic activity in the United States; and

(2) gave the United States Olympic Committee the exclusive right in the United States to name, seals, emblems, and badges;

Whereas Congress also authorized the Committee to allow companies to use any trademark, symbol, insignia, or emblem of the International Olympic Committee, International Paralympic Committee, the Pan American Sports Organization, or the United States Olympic Committee in furtherance of the United States Olympic efforts;

Whereas Team USA is significantly funded by 35 sponsors who assure that the United States has the best team competing for the nation;

Whereas in recent years, a number of entities have engaged in ambush marketing as a marketing strategy, affiliating themselves with the Olympic and Paralympic Games without becoming sponsors of Team USA;

Whereas ambush marketing harms the Olympic and Paralympic Movements, undermines sponsorship activities, and allows competing companies an unfair and unethical advantage over companies who are officially sponsoring Team USA and providing funding for the elite athletes of the United States; and

Whereas efforts to prevent ambush marketing have enjoyed limited success as the strategies ambush marketers use continue to multiply: Now, therefore, be it resolved, That it is the sense of the Senate that—

(1) ambush marketing should not be condoned, especially those marketing efforts that adversely affect the ability of Team USA to attract and retain the necessary sponsorships to be successful at the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games in London, England; and

(2) corporations in the United States should be encouraged to cease all ambush marketing efforts, particularly related to the Olympic and Paralympic Movements.