General Motors Corp. said it
has decided not to renew its U.S. Olympic Committee sponsorship when its
contract ends after 2008.
The company said Monday the move is a result of changes in its marketing
strategy and came after GM evaluated the return on its advertising investment.
The 10-year multimillion-dollar agreement included payments to the USOC, plus
the entire cost of advertising and other items.
"We have other avenues to be able to reach this same audience without bearing
the expense of being an official sponsor of the U.S. Olympic team," spokeswoman
Ryndee Carney said.
GM is continuing to look at spending its advertising dollars in the most
efficient way, including the move to digital formats from traditional print,
television and radio advertising, Carney said.
"Our current agreement with General Motors means that GM will be an official
U.S. Olympic team sponsor through 2008," USOC spokesman Darryl Seibel said. "As
to where things stand with a possible renewal, we do not comment on the status
of ongoing discussions with our corporate partners."
Carney said she did not know what GM's strategy would be for advertising
related to the Olympics beyond the Beijing games in 2008. Chevrolet continues to
sponsor the U.S. Snowboarding team, and GM of Canada is sponsoring the 2010
Winter Games in Vancouver, she said.
The decision was not made because of GM's financial condition, Carney said.
The company lost $2 billion last year but has turned in its third straight
profitable quarter. It is undergoing a restructuring plan that includes reducing
its hourly work force by more than 34,000 with early retirement and buyout
offers, and it is in the midst of critical contract talks with the United Auto
GM's move first was reported by Street & Smith's Sports Business