The Olympic Games – Why I Won’t Watch

From the good ol’ days of the Olympics, before $42 million opening ceremonies and the “Brand Exclusion Zone”.

The pricetag for the opening ceremonies of the Olympic Games in London was $42 million, according to Sports Illustrated. The same article says the opening ceremonies in Beijing cost $100 million.

This is a sign of sport gone wrong. Add that to the odious Brand Exclusion Zone, which is the first reason I will not watch a moment of the Olympic coverage. Now, a lot of people will just say that it’s just a sign of the times. That it’s too late to change. I disagree. We can turn the clock back with just one act:

Don’t watch the Olympic Games.

I hate to say that. The gymnastics and track and field events are awesome to watch. I love soccer. During the winter, I have always looked forward to the boblsed, the skeleton, even the curling.
This is a challenge of my discipline. And it catches athletes in the crossfire. But there’s no other choice. If people don’t watch, the Olympic Games become worth less money. And maybe sponsors will realize the games are not about them: The games are about the athletes … their stories … their accomplishments.

If you want to return the Olympic Games to some semblance of their former selves, don’t tune in. Send a message. Stay strong. The results won’t happen overnight – but change is inevitable if you starve the beast of its money.


Olympic Games Gone Wrong: The Brand Exclusion Zone

The Olympic Games have gone off their rocker.

The games once celebrated the common bonds nations and their people could find in sport. Sure, jingoism and politics sometimes derailed that goal. But largely, it brought people together and gave a platform to the more obscure sport events.

But now?

Commercialism in its worst form -- a strain of product-hawking lunacy that’s crossed the line into stemming the flow of ideas. Olympic Games organizers call it the “Brand Exclusion Zone.”

If you’re in this Brand Exclusion Zone, don’t show up to a venue with your ticket and your Nike shirt. See, adidas is a sponsor. So they have exclusive rights, apparently, to be the only sports apparel seen in the Brand Exclusion Zone.

Oh, and I hope you like McDonald’s. It will be the only “branded food outlet” in the Brand Exclusion Zone. Kind of an odd pairing with the Olympic Games, right?

Here’s the logic: Brands like adidas and McDonald’s pay big bucks to sponsor the Olympics. Therefor, brands who don’t pony up shouldn’t reap any benefits. This, you get an abomination of the logic/decency continuum like the Olympic Games Brand Exclusion Zone.

The London Olympics Committee is not intelligent to realize something: Heavy-handed attempts to control people results in backlash. There will be guerrilla protests, and you will see a lot of creative people thwart the attempted thought control of Olympic organizers. The Olympics Games and its “Brand Police” will look like wanna be-totalitarian buffoons – Advertising Age has already written that its restrictions are worse than those enacted by China at the last Summer Olympic Games.

And you’ll see those of us who won’t be there do something worse: We’ll forgo tuning into the 2012 Olympic Games.

Look, Olympic poo-bahs and honchos … I’m not asking for a return to naked oiled-up dudes wrestling. But I want sport and culture to come first. I want marketing to come in dead last. If that means less pomp and ceremony, so be it.

I’ll be back when you get it right. And not a second sooner.