The Olympic Partners (TOP) programme is the highest level of Olympic sponsorship, granting category exclusive marketing rights to the Sunmer, Winter and Youth Olympic Games to a group of global partners.

The programme was created by the IOC in 1985. TOP attracts some of the biggest multinational companies in the world. Through their support, Olympic partners provide the foundation for the staging of the Olympic Games while helping athletes to participate on the world's biggest sporting stage.

The TOP programme operates on a four year term in line with each Olympiad.

Now in its eight edition revenues have grown from USD 95 million to more than USD 1 billion. This revenue is distributed by the IOC to all National Olympic Committees. International Federations and Organising Committees of Olympic Games to support the development of sport around the world.

The worldwide Olympic Partners help give life to the Olympic Games by their global promotional campaigns and social media activation.

Providing needed financial support to the Olympic Games - actual cash and value in kind support such as products, Technology and services. The value of the TOP programme is undeniable.

Innovative programmes are developed to support athletes and share the values of the Olympic Movement with a large percentage of people around the world.

Last week at the 2019 Olympic Marketing Seminar in Budapest, Hungary representatives from 60 plus National Olympic Committees heard from presenters with a proven track record of success in sport and Olympic marketing, sponsorship and brand building.

The theme of the seminar held over three days was "Growing Your Influence " . The Panel discussion on the topic- connecting the dots- the role of digital in National Olympic Committees revenue generation and fund raising projects was instructive. The panelists Dejan Kozlina, Jose Dominguez, Ben Gauthier and Anne-Cecile Daulay were thought provoking and very much on point in addressing the realities and challenges posed by the digital era.

Kate Johnson took the participants through Visa's history of TOP partnership- Past, Present and Future.

Of particular interest was the presentation by Elisabeth Allaman and Kate Grabska that examined the evolution of the TOP programme. Kathryn Davies and Alex Malouf discussed the importance of influential communication .
Ms Daulay also shared extensively information in respect of the Global Olympic Licensing Programme and Ecommerce. Ben Gaulthier also took a look at IOC innovations for Tokyo 2020.

Natascha Trittis examined the concept of the Olympic Festival.

Participants would have been reminded in no uncertain terms of the importance of the TOP programme but against a backdrop of ongoing evolution and innovation.

Olympic marketing can't stand still there are so many things happening. National Olympic Committees can't afford not to adapt, rethink and reimage.

Speak up. Speak out. The importance of marketing communications, the impact of social media on brand engagement and the importance of brand values to consumers can't be underestimated or ignored.

The views expressed are not necessarily those of the TTOC and TTCGA
Written by Brian Lewis.