$100M sponsor J&J out!

Johnson & Johnson out as Olympic sponsor

NEW YORK (AP) — The International Olympic Committee can’t put a Band-Aid on this financial cut: Johnson & Johnson passed on the chance to renew its lucrative global sponsorship deal.

The IOC confirmed Monday that the health care conglomerate would not renew its top-level sponsorship worth up to $100 million as first reported by Sports Business Journal.

“Our sponsorship of the International Olympic Committee concludes at the end of 2008 and will not be renewed,” Johnson & Johnson spokeswoman Lorie Gawreluk e-mailed.

China, with more than 1 billion residents and a burgeoning consumer marketplace, was a major draw for most sponsors. The next two games are in Canada and the United Kingdom — mature economies that combined have about a tenth of the population of China.

For the Beijing Games, Johnson & Johnson manufactured its signature adhesive bandages with Olympic mascots on them and set up a pavilion for fans to come see terra-cotta warriors from the time of emperor Qin Shi Huang — though overzealous security on the Olympic Green kept many away.

“With our sponsorship of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, we set out to reinforce the already positive perceptions of Johnson & Johnson in China,” Gawreluk said. “Thanks to our association with these Games and the International Olympic Committee we’ve been successful in reaching those goals.”

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Johnson & Johnson’s deal for the 2005-08 cycle was worth between $60 million and $80 million, and Sports Business Journal said the IOC would have gotten $100 million in its renewal over four years.

“The IOC is proud to have worked in a successful partnership with Johnson & Johnson for both the (Turin) 2006 and Beijing 2008 Olympic Games,” spokeswoman Emmanuelle Moreau said.

For the Beijing Games, Johnson & Johnson paid to be one of 12 worldwide sponsors, meaning it could use Olympic images and the Olympic name to advertise anywhere in the world — just like ubiquitous sponsors Visa Inc., McDonalds Corp. and The Coca-Cola Co.

The company from New Brunswick, N.J., was the first health care products company to join that top rank of IOC sponsors, which gave it more access to China, too.

It’s unclear if there’s a similar company able to step in, but even with a worldwide financial crisis, the Olympics aren’t lacking for worldwide sponsors in other categories.

“The IOC has already reached agreements with nine companies to be members of the worldwide TOP program through to 2012, with Panasonic and Samsung extending through to 2016 and Coca-Cola through to 2020,” Moreau said. “Further announcements are expected to be made regarding new members of the TOP program during the course of 2009.”

Twelve companies signed up for the 2005-08 global sponsorship program, generating nearly $900 million in revenues. TV rights fees, with the largest chunk from U.S. network NBC, provided the other $2.6 billion.

Olympic TV and sponsorship revenues for the 2005-08 cycle — covering the 2006 Turin Winter Games and 2008 Beijing Olympics — totaled about $3.5 billion.

The IOC’s goal for 2009-2012 is $1 billion in sponsorships before TV rights fees