Fans Can Wear ‘Non-Sponsor’ Branded Clothes, Say Organisers
LONDON (Reuters) – Fans will not be barred from wearing branded clothing at the Olympics, organisers said on Friday, reassuring spectators after London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe said they could be hit by rules to protect sponsors.
“You probably would not be walking in with a Pepsi T-shirt because Coca-Cola are our sponsors,” Coe, chairman of the London Organising Committee (LOCOG), told BBC Radio 4.
Challenged on how strictly laws would be interpreted, Coe said fans would probably not be asked to remove Nike sports shoes. Rival adidas is a sponsor of the Games, supplying uniforms for tens of thousands of officials and volunteers.
“You probably would be able to walk through with Nike trainers,” Coe said.
London organisers later said that fans would be tackled only if their clothing was part of a coordinated attempt to publicise a non-sponsor – stunts known as ambush marketing.
“Any individual coming into our venues can wear any item of clothing, branded or otherwise,” a spokesman said.
“The only issue is if large groups come in together wearing clearly visible branding/marketing,” he added.
His comments were in line with guidance from law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, which is providing legal services for the Games.
The International Olympic Committee is determined to protect the investment of sponsors who help to finance the Games.
Coca-Cola are among 11 companies who have paid $957 million for worldwide rights to market their products on the back of the Games over a four-year cycle.
Local organisers have raised around £700m ($1.10bn) from an additional 41 sponsors for the London Games.
– By Keith Weir