UK: Getting Into the Spirit - the Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games Licensing Programme

Last Updated: 30 January 2002

The Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games will be the largest multi-discipline sporting event held in the UK.

The development and protection of the image of the Games and the creation of a Games "experience" are fundamental criteria against which the success of the Games will be measured. This article examines the role the Licensing Programme will play in promoting the Games image, its scope and how it will be used by M2002 to enhance the Games "experience" for the public.

Conveying the Message of the Games

The Spirit of Friendship logo represents the three core themes of the Games – Sport, Culture and Friendship and forms the basis of the Games "look".

The Games are intended to represent much more than the recognition of great sporting achievement. They will celebrate culture, art, education and above all the friendship of the Commonwealth countries and will be the culmination of the Spirit of Friendship Festival, a series of national cultural events and festivals commencing in March 2002 to celebrate the Commonwealth and the Golden Jubilee of the Queen. The aim of the festival is to encourage communities throughout the UK to contribute to the celebrations and to gain an understanding of what it means to be part of the Commonwealth.

The Games branding will be used to draw attention to, identify and join together the many different events, participants, locations and sponsors contributing to the Games experience, whilst reminding all those involved of the core values which the Games represents. The Games "look" will brand all the fields of play venues in and around Manchester City Centre and all the events comprising the Spirit of Friendship Festival.

Exploitation of the Games Brand

The exploitation of the Games brand will be key to the success of the Games. With 72 nations taking part in the 2002 Games and an expected audience of 1 million spectators and 1 billion television viewers, the Commonwealth Games has reached new dimensions since Edinburgh 1986. The opportunity for commercial exploitation has likewise expanded dramatically. Large scale brand licensing is expected by both the public and the business community for an event the size of the Manchester 2002 Games.

The increased prominence of the Games as a multi-national sporting event provides a wealth of other opportunities for businesses. Raising public awareness of the Games and informing businesses how they can contribute to its success will be vital to ensuring that such opportunities are maximised. An effective branding campaign will in turn be key to increasing public awareness of the Games.

The Commonwealth Games places great importance on the particular identity of its host city and nation. The promotion of Manchester, the North West and the UK on the international stage is an essential item on the agenda of Manchester 2002 Limited ("M2002"), the company organising the 2002 Games. A successful licensing programme will assist in raising the profile of Manchester and the UK in conjunction with the Games.

Finally, commercial exploitation will generate revenue for the Games. In particular, the appointment of sponsors who contribute cash or value in kind goods and services in consideration for the grant of a package of rights is one of the core means by which funding for the Games will be secured. The advertising and promotional rights granted to Sponsors will include the right to use the different properties adopted by M2002.

The Games Licensing Programme – its Objectives

The goal of the Games Licensing Programme is to deliver an accessible merchandise range to enable every person involved in the Games. Unlike most traditional retail products, event merchandise is sought after by all types of consumers. The success of Sydney 2000 demonstrated that there is a strong retail market demand for large event merchandise. The Games will provide an arena within which the retail community can showcase their products and brands. In return, the Games will receive recognition, publicity and increased access to the general public.

Scope of the Licensing Programme

M2002 will be licensing a variety of different properties in relation to the Games and the Spirit of Friendship Festival. One of the most important of these is the Games mascot "Kit". Pictograms featuring "Kit" playing the different Games sports are also available for licence, along with more traditional pictograms featuring each sport which are ideal for use in connection with event specific ranges. M2002 also has rights to license the trade marks of the various home nations teams. Packaging and labelling guidelines will ensure that all licensed products supplied remain consistent with the "look" of the Games to ensure synergy between the event and the licensed product ranges sold in connection with it.

Licensed products to be made available to the public include general apparel and accessories, sporting apparel and equipment, collectables, published materials and stationery, tourist gifts and homeware, PR and promotional products, and food and drink.

Distribution channels are to include Games shops in and around Manchester City Centre and Games concessions stores at all Games venues. Licensees will supply their products to the officially appointed online retailer and mail order retailer for the Games in order to facilitate and encourage the purchase of licensed products. Other distribution channels to be used by licensees include departmental stores, supermarkets, specialist stores and tourist information centres.

In conjunction with the various promotional activities undertaken by official sponsors and other branding activities to be organised by M2002, the Games Licensing Programme will play a significant role in building public awareness of the Manchester 2002 Games, both locally and nationally. The exposure of Manchester 2002 Games brands to consumer markets throughout the UK during the next year will significantly extend the reach of M2002's promotional activities. It is hoped that the Games Licensing Programme will assist in the promotion of the core values celebrated by the Games and inspire the public to contribute to the Games experience.

Robert Stoker is head of the Sport Unit at Addleshaw Booth & Co - Official Lawyers to the Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games

The content of this article does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied on in that way. Specific advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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