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The loss of the Olympic Spirit due to Excessive Commercialization

The Olympic events are a global event of winter and summer sports in which numerous competitors participate in a broad range of events. The games are presently held after a period of two years with winter and summer Olympic Games alternating. Initially, the antique Olympic Games were held in Greece up to 5th century AD. In 19th century, Pierre de Coubertin was motivated by Olympic carnivals to revitalize the games. For this purpose he established the International Olympic Committee in the year 1894 and in the subsequent years the contemporary Olympic Games were created in Athens.

The IOC has ever since been the governing body of the Olympic Games whose actions and structure are characterized by the Olympic Charter. The development of the Olympic movement in 20th century forced the governing body to adjust the Games to the international changing social conditions. Some of these adaptations included the establishment of the Winter sports for snow and ice sports, the Paralympics sports for people with physical disabilities, and teenage athlete games such as the Youth Olympic.

In addition, the IOC had to incorporate the sports to the changing political, technological and economic realism of the 20th century. Consequently, the Olympic Games moved away from unadulterated amateurism as visualized by Coubertin, to permit involvement of professional athletes (Cooper-Chen p. 3). The increasing significance of the media established the issue of commercialization and corporate sponsorship of the Games. There exists no reservation that the contemporary Olympics differ greatly from the antique Olympics (Karp p. 1).

Presently, corporate sponsors and television companies are paying almost one billion dollars for the right to associate themselves or screen these games. Although the principles of peace and harmony still exist here and there, contemporary Olympics come onward with their commercial feature perhaps in concurrence with the reality of the twenty first century; monetary ambition and an enormous yearning for commercial success. Consequently, the Olympic Games’ spirit has been lost due to excessive commercialization. Development of Commercialization

The International Olympic Committee initially resisted financing by corporate sponsors. It was not until IOC head Avery Brundage retirement in 1972, that the committee started to explore the likely of the mass media specifically the television and the profitable advertising markets obtainable to them (Roche p. 13). Under the Antonio Samarach’s leadership, the Olympic Games began to move towards multinational sponsors who sought to connect their merchandise to the Olympic brand. Intentional Olympic committee Budget In the early half of the 20th century, the committee was managed on a tiny budget.

The president of the committee from 1952 to 1972, Brundage resisted any attempts to connect the Olympics with commercialization (Schaffer and Smith p. 34). Brundage assumed that the vestibule of corporate interests would disproportionately affect the capacity of the IOC to make decisions. Brundage’s rejection to this income stream implied the IOC left committees concerned with the organization of the events to bargain their own funding and utilize the Olympic symbols. When Brundage left the IOC possessed more than two million dollars in assets; nearly eight years afterward the IOC assets had increased to forty five million dollars.

This was fundamentally due to as change in ideology toward extension of the sports via corporate support and the auction of broadcasting rights. The 1984 Olympics became a turning point in the history of Olympics. The organizing committee generated an excess of two hundred and twenty five dollars which signifies an extraordinary figure at that time (Slack p. 7). The organizing committee was capable of creating surplus in part by auctioning exclusive rights for sponsorship to select corporations. The IOC immediately sought to achieve control of these rights of sponsorship.

Impact of Media The Summer Olympics held in 1936 in Berlin were the first events to be aired on television, though limited to local audiences (Tomlinson p. 16). The Winter Olympics held in 1956 were the first globally televised games and the subsequent winter sports had their rights of broadcast auctioned for the first moment to specialized broadcasting networks. For instance the CBS allocated nearly three hundred and ninety four thousand dollars for American rights and the EBU allocated six hundred and sixty thousand dollars (Slack p. 23).

The auction of broadcast rights made it possible for the IOC to expand the coverage of the Olympic sports, thereby creating increased interest which in turn established more interest to advertisers who bought time for advertising on television. This sequence permitted the IOC to sell rights at high prices. Viewership improved from the 1960s onwards. In 2000 Olympics many broadcast networks recorded a sharp fall in viewership and demanded concessions form IOC to improve ratings. The committee reacted by implementing some alterations in the sporting program.

During the 2000 Olympics, the gymnastic contest was extended from seven days to nine days. Diving and swimming programs were also expanded on commercial grounds, both admired sports with a wide base of television audience. Ultimately the American television group was capable of controlling when particular sports were held so that they could be aired during prime time in America. The outcome of these endeavors was mixed; the rankings for 2006 Games were lower compared to those for the 2002, while there was recorded an increase in audience for the Olympic Games held in Beijing in 2008. Commercialized Sporting display

The auction of the Olympic trademark has been contentious. The contention is that the events have become almost indistinguishable from other commercialized sporting display. Specific disapproval was leveled at the Committee for market infiltration during the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta and 2000 Games in Sydney. The cities were drenched in merchants and corporations trying to auction Olympic-linked wares. Another argument is that the events are financed by national governments and host cities; the governing body meets none of the expenses, yet it controls the profits and rights from the Olympic symbols (Landry p.

1). It also takes a specific proportion of all broadcast and sponsorship income. Presently, aside from offering an arena for cooperation and sportsmanship, Olympics are considered a prime scene for commercial events. Host countries continue to struggle for the right to hold the events not only because it forms a good source of global prestige but also a sure way of reaching huge numbers of viewers and promoting tourist attraction. Buckley also states “Olympics are destroyed by the commercialization of the event” (1). Olympic Business Mismatches the Ideals

Neither employment opportunities nor the business profits free the Olympics from criticisms. Today, the Olympic events are criticized by numerous individuals who contend that the realism of Olympic commercialization fails to match the ideals. For one, although Olympic events are anticipated to enhance the economy of the nations they are held in, the verity remains that the games provide business openings only to multinational corporations. In other words, these events may not essentially become advantageous for the host countries or their citizens.

For example, urban improvement initiatives including building highways and stadiums will not habitually serve the residents well after the events are over. When constructing these becomes more significant than solving the urgent issues of a country, public money may be misused on improvement for the games instead of projects like safety and health. Further, it is believed that the procedure of organizing Olympic Games fails to take into account the interests of the underprivileged. Urban renovation around the stadiums may increase the value of property and rents force unfortunate people out of near neighborhoods.

This means that the monetary gains of other may imply the loss of homes for numerous. Overall, the winners of these happenings are their corporate supporters, hospitality and travel chains, and global organizing bodies, but not the poor. Undermining Professed ideals Commercialization of Olympic Games is overwhelming the event (Young p. 33). It is undermining the professed spirit of the games and at the same time subverting the Olympics reverence of sport with ubiquitous commercial branding and messaging.

The excessive commercial infringement on the games contravenes the Olympic Charters articulated objective of a wholesome blend of culture, education and sport. The overrunning cultural influence at the games is presently commercial culture and the informational message are; buy, buy and buy. Sports, definitely remain at the core of the Olympic Games, but commercialization has overrun whatever spirit or values the Olympics expect to embody. The quantity of commercial information drowns out any challenging narrative apart from games.

Promotion of Unhealthy Living In a distressing development The IOC tolerates sponsorship of the sporting events by wine and beer companies notwithstanding the basic spirit of ‘Olympism’ which advocate healthful living. During the Beijing Olympics, top sponsors managed business dealing with unhealthy food. These firms operations are totally ill-assorted with Olympic spirit of promoting healthful living and fitness and most of the firms utilize the connection with the Olympic Games to eliminate some of the blemish of their unhealthy goods.

Firms have been known to be enthusiastic to utilize connection with sporting events as a way of obscuring the unhealthy characteristic of their products. While the Olympic Games offer a great opening to energize the countries hosting the games about sports and physical fitness, the spirit should not be demoralized by advocating unhealthy foods. Promotion of unhealthy food during such events is inappropriate for since it enjoys enormous interest to children. To suggest that Olympic-connected bodies should not be supported by these companies dealing with unhealthy junks of food does not imply that, for instance, one should not consume them.

It is to assert that the Olympic Games should not give its aura and trademark to help advocate consumption of unhealthy products. Violation of Human Rights Moreover, labor rights promoters have documented appalling conditions in most of the sport apparel and equipment makers who joined with the Olympics during the Beijing Games such as Nike, Adidas and Speedo. These leading companies specialize in marketing and product design but do not participate in the production process of the good sold under their trademark. Instead the sub-contract production process to low-wage companies.

Employees in these facilities are often coerced to labor for lone durations in excess of the accepted national standards, paid very low salaries below the constitutional minimum wage. Supervisors are abusive of employees and labor rights such as the right to arrange independent unions are often trampled. In another disturbing development, Adidas announced its intentions to transfer production facilities out of China simply because the wages put in place by the Chinese government were very high (Wedekind, Robert and Ben p.

1). Further, two main firms which partnered with the Olympic body including Sinopec and China petroleum Corporation were connected to gross violation of human entitlements in Sudan. Both firms sponsored the Beijing organizing committee of the sporting events. Failure to refuse to enter into sponsorship deals with firms connected to gross violation of human rights revels just how much the commercialization of Olympic Games has led to loss of Olympic Spirit; the promotion of human rights.

This is an ethical principle, and one of the Olympic commitment’s requirements to display respect for general fundamental ethical standards. Inequality in Allocation of resources The absolute volume of corporate sponsors is overwhelming and makes obvious how far reaching the Olympic Games commercialization is. Equally important is the fact that the overall thrust of corporate support fund is to worsen imbalances in the distribution of resources. Corporate sponsors unsurprisingly prefer to enter into partnership with Olympic teams in nations with bigger markets and are enthusiastic to meet the cost of those markets.

It is plain that Olympic teams such as those from the United States are capable of raising more funds from corporate sponsors compared to say the Ghanaian committee. Corporate sponsorship or commercialization most of the time skews the available resources to athletes within nations. Sports that do not enjoy wide media coverage such as rowing frequently struggle to find financial backers while sports which are more popular like field and track rake in huge amounts of proceeds.

The true Olympic ideal and spirit is dead, killed mostly by commercialization; as long as the games are dominated by rich nations who are more than ready to support their sportsmen with huge amounts of money and latest equipments it will remain so for a long time. If the true spirit of the Olympic Games is to be followed, then all athletes in all events should receive similar equipment to utilize, no more aerodynamic running attire or sharkskin attire. As far as this situation thrives, athletes from underprivileged countries may never be capable of competing on a fair basis.

Conclusion The Commercialization of Olympic Games contravenes the Olympic spirit of a pure blend of education, culture and sport. The Olympic spirit of enhancing authentic education and culture has already been washed away beneath a sea of marketing arrangement and sponsorship. Nonetheless, the problems with the Olympics commercialization should be and can be addressed by undertaking an all-inclusive evaluation of the extent of corporate sponsorship, with the aim of stemming their overall figure.

In addition, companies which have been linked with violation of human rights should be excluded in the marketing arrangements. Works Cited Buckley, William. Olympic Talk-Commercialization of the Olympics. 2 Sept. 1996. 9 July 2009. < http://findarticles. com/p/articles/mi_m1282/is_n16_v48/ai_18614125/> Cooper-Chen, Anne. Global Entertainment Media. Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2005. Landry, Keith. The Olympic Games. 2004. 9 June 2009. < http://www. englishclub. com/esl-articles/olympic-games. htm> Karp, Craig. Is the Olympic Spirit Dead? 3 Oct. 2000. 9 June 2009.

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