The British Olympic Association (BOA) is relaxing even more marketing guidelines set around the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Rule 40. This rule determines how Olympic athletes and their sponsors can participate in advertising around the time leading up to the Olympic games.
The BOA originally was allowing athletes one message of thanks to its sponsors during the Games and forced them to submit these marketing deals before team qualification began.
British track athletes such as Adam Gemili and Mo Farah, were at the forefront of leading the call for changes. They claimed most of their sponsors were not able to lay out a full advertising campaign in the time frame that the BOA was asking for. They took legal action towards the clause, saying the rule is financially hurting them in the pinnacle of their sporting careers.
The rule exists to protect the International Olympic Committee and its official sponsors from “ambush marketing,” or unofficial sponsors profiting off of the Olympic brand. Although the IOC came up with this law, the country’s own Olympic Committee can implement changes as they seem fit.
The United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC) released an updated Rule 40 as well back in October 2019.
Now with the updated BOA rule, the “in-market” period, has been expanded to June 30th but can be till July 14th if your qualification is after June. This period refers to the time your marketing activities can be consented by the BOA and falls within range of knowing your Olympic status. The number of messages posted on athletes’ websites and social media was also increased from just one.
“This agreement allows athletes to further benefit from their personal sponsors whilst balancing the needs of the BOA to raise funds to support all athletes at the Games,” says Andy Anson, CEO of the BOA.
Germany was the first National Olympic Committee to see the rule as too strict. Originally terms such as “gold” or “Olympian” weren’t even allowed for athletes to use to promote themselves with sponsors.
“I’m pleased to have reached an agreement with the BOA that moves us into line with other Olympic federations and that provides every athlete an equal and fair chance to generate sponsorship revenue in the build up to and during the Games,” said Gemili and was appreciative of their concerns towards the British athletes.