BMW Inks Six-Year Deal With U.S. Olympics Unit

BMW

Olympic speed skater Apolo Anton Ohno was in town on Monday, but with New York City streets running like wax under the heat of the dog days, he definitely wasn't here to give an ice skating clinic. Rather, Ohno, Jack Pitney, VP of marketing for BMW of North America, and U.S. Olympic Committee CMO Lisa Baird held forth at BMW of Manhattan to announce a six-year promotional arrangement between the German auto brand and Team U.S.

The deal makes BMW Group the "Official Mobility Partner" of the USOC from now through 2016. BMW Group will also be the "Official Mobility Partner" of USA Bobsled & Skeleton, US Speedskating, USA Swimming and USA Track & Field national governing bodies (NGB).

Pitney says that in addition to financial support, BMW will give the four individual NGBs technical expertise and use of such facilities as wind tunnels and of engineering staff.

Pitney tells Marketing Daily that although the brand is serving as Mobility and Sustainability partner of the 2012 London Olympics, much of the USOC efforts will be off-season, with local efforts, fund-raising and cause-related programs to generate additional funds to support the training of Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls.

He says that dealers will play a major role, as BMW will do fund-raising for Olympic Movement, a grassroots-level program. On July 27, every BMW, Mini, and BMW Motorcycle dealership will raise an Olympic flag to commemorate the partnership.

BMW Group -- which includes the BMW, Mini and BMW Motorrad motorcycle brands -- will be the Official Mobility Partner of the USOC, as well as the 2012, 2014 and 2016 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Teams, and the 2011 and 2015 U.S. Pan American and Para pan-American Teams. The automaker will have a presence at the three Olympic Training Centers and at the major events of the four NGBs: the USA Swimming National Championships next month in Irvine, Calif.

In 1996, BMW Group was a sponsor of the Atlanta Olympic Games and U.S. Olympic Team.

Pitney says BMW will use the platform in part to promote its Efficient Dynamics powertrain technology platform -- one result of which is the Megacity electric vehicle coming in 2013. That car, per Pitney, will benefit by BMW's sponsorship of the London Olympics, for which the automaker is signed on as Sustainable Mobility partner. "We are going to be looking for all platforms to launch it. Looking at the partnership BMW has with London as sustainability partner you can see us expanding that to the U.S. team as well."

He says the specifics of BMW Group's deal with the USOC have not been ironed out. "We will have a strong on-site presence, but as we are just now announcing the partnership, we are in the very formative stages right now. But suffice to say our commitment to the Movement will be defined more by what we do when there are no Olympic Games. Our area of opportunity will be during training periods."

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