These Games Brought to You by . . .

The New York Times looks at Olympics sponsorship, and a deal brokered by the county’s top athletic wear company Li-Ning to outfit all broadcasters on CCTV-5, the broadcaster’s sports channel, during the Olympics:

In other words, whenever Chinese viewers watch the Games on TV, they will be unable to avoid Li-Ning’s logo. “Pretty clever, isn’t it?” my guide said, breaking into a smile.

It is, indeed, given that Li-Ning is not an official Olympic sponsor. That means, according to the rules of the International Olympic Committee, the company is not authorized to link itself explicitly to the Olympics. But if Li-Ning has a ways to go before competing head-to-head with the big Western brands, clearly the company has learned a thing or two about “ambush marketing”: skirting the rules to steal rivals’ thunder. Adidas, for example, reportedly had to pay up to $100 million over four years for the right to use the logo of the Beijing Olympic Organizing Committee within China and Hong Kong. Adidas is also responsible for outfitting all officials, staff and volunteers at the Games and in the Olympic Village.

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