“In a pinched economy, consumers are embracing their inner skinflint,” wrote Daniel Gross, the Moneybox columnist for Slate, on February 26, and the consumers of advertising space at the world’s second-largest sporting venue are no different. According to Allan Dowd, writing for Reuters, the 2010 Paralympic Games in Vancouver, Canada, may not live up to the high hopes planted by Beijing’s massive success in bringing prestige, fans, and ultimately, sponsors, to the venue.
According to Dowd, International Paralympic Committee (IPC) President Philip Craven said that the committee’s finances are in good shape, but that it was hoping for a bounce in sponsorship income after the positive attention the 2008 Games enjoyed. “I think that the consequences of the downturn in the economy have meant that that’s on hold for the moment,” Craven was quoted as saying. This is despite the fact that international television viewership for 2010 is expected to be the highest ever for a Winter Paralympic Games. Canadian broadcasters plan to air three times the coverage that was given to the 2006 Games in Torino, Italy.
Issues of sponsorship are a major question on Craven’s plate at the moment. According to Dowd, the IPC and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) are currently discussing having worldwide sponsorship deals cover both the Olympic and Paralympic Games, starting in 2018. Currently, domestic sponsorship deals in the host cities are already shared. The possibility of shared international sponsorships “has been prompted by what has happened here in Vancouver and what is happening in London, where sponsors are demanding both Games…. This is a time for new things, when you’re in a downturn,” Craven said.
Craven told reporters on March 16 that the Vancouver and London Paralympic committees would like to replicate Beijing’s success in raising the Paralympics to equal status with the Olympics. “We’re looking for that here. We’re looking for that in London,” he said.
Craven was also quoted as saying that reactions to Vancouver’s preparations for the event are positive, joking that coaches “who normally complain first” have praised the facilities, which are now being tested for accessibility.