The IOC may give host nations greater access to Olympic brand following criticism

The International Olympic Committee has said it is considering allowing governments greater access to the Olympic brand in future, after criticisms that it prioritises commercial sponsors.

Greg Nugent, the former chief marketing officer of London 2012, criticised the IOC in Campaign this week, arguing that national and local governments need to be given the same access to the Olympic brand as commercial sponsors if it is to secure long-term public support for the Games.

His comments came a week before Rio 2016 begins, and after various potential host cities have cancelled their bids following lack of public support for the event. For example, last year, both Boston and Hamburg withdrew bids to host the 2024 summer Olympics due to poor public support. Oslo and Stockholm cancelled their bids for the 2022 winter Olympics.

As Nugent wrote in Campaign, if governments are unable to promote how the money they invest in the Games benefits their citizens, this could present a long-term threat to the IOC.

In a statement to Campaign, the IOC pointed to the Olympic Agenda 2020, its "strategic roadmap" for the future of the Olympic Movement, and said: "we are looking at possible ways to extend the use of the Olympic brand for non-commercial purposes, including looking at possible ways to recognise the important role of national and local authorities in supporting the Olympic Games, whilst protecting the rights of our stakeholders."

It added: "We are already working with future Olympic Games organisers in Pyeongchang and Tokyo towards a more flexible approach to extend the use of the Olympic brand and support the promotion of national and local non-commercial partners."

But it also said: "Corporate sponsorship provides essential financial support for the entire Olympic Movement, and the partners’ products, services and expertise is critical to success of staging the Olympic Games. Put simply, without commercial partners, the Olympic Games would not happen in their current format."

It stressed that it is a privately funded organisation that "redistributes more than 90 per cent of its income to the wider sporting movement."

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