The Olympic Partner (TOP) sponsors are among the worst affected by the Zika virus and a “relative decline of the Olympic brand”, a study sent to insidethegames by the Global Language Monitor (GLM) has revealed.
GLM, which analyses and catalogues the latest trends in word usage and word choices across the internet and the top 350,000 print and electronic news media outlets, as well as social networking sites such as Twitter, published a similar report back in March.
At that point, exact names of sponsors were not announced but it revealed Zika, a prominent concern in the lead-up to Rio 2016, was having a significant impact on the TOP sponsors, who inject around $1 billion (£680 million/€892 million) in each Olympic cycle.
The company have again highlighted the virus, which has links with microcephaly, which causes babies to be born with small heads and under-developed brains, as an issue for sponsors.
Other effects of Zika include fevers, rashes, joint pain, eye redness and conjunctivitis.
“The impact of these factors, for a number of companies, is significant and growing,” the report claims.
The study uses GLM’s Brand Affiliation Index (BAI) to track how often brand names are linked to the Olympics.
The report may come as a concern to both the International Olympic Committee and the sponsors themselves.
For non-branded entities such as the Zika virus, GLM uses a system called the Entity Tracking Index (EAI).
Procter and Gamble have been shown as an example of what the report claims is representative of a decline of the Olympic brand in general ahead of this year’s Games in Rio when compared to London 2012.
The American multinational consumer goods company currently sit in 19th place on GLM’s Rio Olympics Brand Scorecard for May, which ranks the sponsors by their BAI.
They are 10th out of the 11 TOP sponsors, the report says.
Just six months before London 2012, they had a BAI of 205.52, with the figure they recorded 12 months from Rio 2016 a drastically lower 27.96.
Samsung remain at the summit of the pile on the Rio Olympics Brand Scorecard on a BAI of 178.36, comfortably higher than Nike, who are not a TOP sponsor, as they sit second on 82.19.
“Of some concern is the fact that the overall numbers across the board are trending lower than those of the London Games,” the report states.
“This means that the aggregate score of global Internet Media Buzz is significantly lower than that measured for the London Games.
“This effect of lower level of media buzz is also seen impacting individual sponsors.
“Overall, there are a number of other concerns regarding the Games, including the construction of the venues falling significantly behind schedule, the impeachment and subsequent replacement of the president of Brazil, rampant pollution, and, of course a rising concern over the Zika virus epidemic as the Games approach.
“According to the study, the TOP Olympic Sponsors, who spend up to $1 billion, or more, per Olympic cycle, should be concerned that their products are making a smaller impact on the Olympic audience for the Rio Summer games, than those of past Olympiads, particularly, London (2012) and Sochi (2014).”
GLM are due to release their Rio Olympics Brand Scorecard for June “later this week”.