Could security concerns affect the number and size of corporate hospitality events at the Summer Olympics in Athens this August?
Rana Kardestuncer, director of event and sponsorship marketing for the Carlson Marketing Group in Minneapolis, says that while there has been talk about companies staying away from the games, she believes most companies, particularly sponsors, will follow through on hospitality plans in Athens. “If you are a sponsor and you’ve invested in the games, then you are going,” says Kardestuncer, who is helping to manage the hospitality program for Eastman-Kodak, one of the major sponsors for the summer games.
There is some evidence that security concerns could tangibly impact corporate attendance at the games. A poll, taken by Turnkey Sports and published by Sports Business Journal in April, found that 30 percent of the 400 sports industry executives polled would not, even if they had the opportunity, take clients and guests to the games because of security concerns.
Steve Woodward, Olympics correspondent for the Sports Business Journal, thinks concerns about logistics may have more of an impact than security concerns on corporate attendance at the games. “At the end of the day they [corporate executives] may be more concerned about whether their people will be inconvenienced,” Woodward says. “There could be organizational flaws that cause a lot of frustration and aggravation. That’s what I would be worried about.”
For more information about corporate hospitality programs and the Olympic Games, see the July issue of Corporate Meetings & Incentives.