What are the reasons behind the increasing commercialism of the Olympic Games?

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Alice Brady 12JMW

What are the reasons behind the increasing commercialism of the Olympic Games?

The Olympic Games is a world wide event, held once every 4 years. It is the most important event amongst the elite athletes of today. It is viewed on television by billions of people across the world, by satellite transmission (started in Tokyo in 1964). This worldwide viewing attracted sponsors as they realised that by supporting the Olympics their product would be advertised on every product sold, as they would be the ‘official sponsor’. The advances in technology has played a fundamental role in the increase in commercialism, as large sums of money are put forwards for television rights over the Games from companies such as Sky, the BBC and ABC.


  Sponsorship plays an essential function in the running of the Olympics. Money from sponsors is used for administration, travel and accommodation for the athletes and officials, communication and equipment. In the Barcelona Olympics of 1992, there were 44 companies included in The Olympic Programme (TOP). The commercialisation or Americanisation of the Games involves many multinational companies like McDonald’s, who have been involved with the Olympic Movement since 1976 when it became an official sponsor of the Olympic Games in Montreal. McDonald’s joins The Coca-Cola Company, Kodak Company, Sema Group, TIME/Sports Illustrated, Xerox, and VISA as TOP V sponsors, to name a few. A spokesman for McDonald’s, Jack Greenberg, believed that McDonald’s were a “unique company, capable of bringing the fun and excitement of the world’s premiere sporting event to 43 million customers every day.”

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   However the real reason behind this sponsor was chosen as it was offering the Olympic Committee millions of dollars in sponsorship. McDonald’s, as an example, wanted to exploit the Games, using it as an advertising tool, to imply their company has a clean, reliable and idealistic image like that of the Olympics.


   The Salt Lake Organising Committee received approximately US$ 1,390.5 million from Olympic marketing programmes, but a question asked by many is

Where exactly does all the money come from? ...

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