The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has appointed an official hospitality provider as part of a significant reform of this part of the Games-time operation.
United States-based On Location will act as exclusive service provider for the Paris 2024, Milan-Cortina 2026 and Los Angeles 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games hospitality programmes.
The change was flagged in the recently-published Agenda 2020+5 IOC strategy document.
This included - under recommendation 15, "Innovate revenue generation models" - a commitment to "create a centralised Olympic hospitality programme for the benefit of all Olympic stakeholders".
It went on: "Decades ago, to create efficiencies and added value, the IOC made the decision to centrally operate and manage certain revenue programmes including the Worldwide TOP Programme and broadcast rights.
"Through Olympic Agenda 2020, we continued this effort by creating a global licensing programme and developing a marketing alliance with the International Paralympic Committee, which began on 1 January 2021.
"To continue maximising benefits for all Olympic stakeholders, we will extend this centralised approach to the business model of the hospitality sector."
Today’s announcement - which may have a serious impact on the traditional Authorised Ticket Reseller (ATR)-based Olympic ticket-selling system - said that, under the new arrangement, fans and stakeholders would have access to "unique ticket-inclusive travel and hospitality experiences through one, official, exclusive hospitality provider".
On Location would deliver "world-class hospitality experiences", with packages including tickets, travel, accommodation and in-venue and host city hospitality.
The new model would also "enhance" services for the families and friends of participating athletes, with "support for travel, access to accommodation, and other services, including dedicated ticket inventory".
We’re thrilled to team up with @IOCmedia to reimagine future hospitality offerings as the Official Hospitality Provider for the Olympic and Paralympic Games @Paris2024, @milanocortina26, and @LA28.— On Location (@onlocationexp) June 2, 2021
Learn more at https://t.co/sdLqORSLKn pic.twitter.com/0PEuOC5ktC
IOC President Thomas Bach said that "one of the recommendations of Olympic Agenda 2020+5 is to deliver additional turnkey solutions that could be provided to [Olympic Games Organising Committees] to simplify the delivery complexity of the Games".
He continued: "This new solution will deliver a simplified, secure process for fans around the world to attend the Games.
"The centralisation of the project also contributes greatly to better oversight and, with this, to good governance.
"It will also directly support the staging of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, all the National Olympic Committees and most importantly their athletes."
Paul Caine, On Location’s President, said the company was "honoured" to join the IOC in "reimagining hospitality" at future Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Milan-Cortina 2026 President Giovanni Malagò highlighted the "important revenue stream" which this new approach to hospitality would provide, while Los Angeles 2028 chairperson Casey Wasserman described modernising the hospitality and ticketing platform as a "major priority" in preparations for the Californian city’s third Olympics.
Tony Estanguet, President of Paris 2024, now in line to be the first Games delivered under the new model, spoke of seeking to "showcase the best of French art de vivre".
According to the Hollywood news organisation Deadline, Endeavor - the diversified talent agency and entertainment business founded by Ari Emanuel in 1995 - finalised a deal to acquire a majority stake in On Location at the start of last year.
It said On Location was originally a part of the National Football League (NFL), and that the league remained a minority shareholder.
On Location’s website lists it, not surprisingly, as official hospitality provider for the NFL; it also has a presence in golf, tennis, motorsports and US college sports, among others.
According to the Financial Times, Endeavor made an initial public offering valuing it at just over $10 billion (£7 billion/€8.2 billion) in April.
It said that investors in Endeavor included New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and the Abu Dhabi state fund Mubadala.
The group is said to have made a number of acquisitions of well-known entities over the years, including the sports agency IMG, the Ultimate Fighting Championship and the Miss Universe beauty pageant.
Ongoing innovative disruption in the media industry has put the IOC under a certain amount of pressure to diversify revenue streams, since the traditional sale of broadcasting rights can no longer be relied upon to generate exceptional income growth from one cycle to another.
Because of this, sponsorship looks to be in the process of overhauling broadcast rights as the Olympic Movement’s chief source of revenue.