October 28, 2019
On October 8, 2019, the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (“USOPC”) issued a new set of Olympic advertising guidelines in advance of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The new guidelines effectively relax the prior restrictions placed on athletes and advertisers by the International Olympic Committee (“IOC”). Specifically, Rule 40.3 of the IOC’s by-laws previously prevented athletes and their respective sponsors from publicly acknowledging, thanking, and congratulating each other during the Olympic games. The new Rule 40.3 makes such communications possible, with constraints set forth by the IOC. As explained by the USOPC, the recent change was undertaken to benefit athletes “both as they seek to secure personal sponsorship and maintain relationships with the personal sponsors who support them as they train and compete.”
What does this change in Olympic advertising policy mean for Olympic athletes and sponsors?