The Olympic Games play out every two years, but the International Olympic Committee wants to turn its Internet presence into an everyday event.
The IOC is in the early stages of a plan to create a series of specialized sites separate from the every-other-year Games sites with opportunities for marketing and promotional tie-ins.
The Internet is "a fundamental medium going forward, not just for the Games period but 365 days a year, and [with] potentially even greater scope and value outside the Games period as a communications medium," said Michael Payne, the IOC's marketing director.
For example, the IOC may develop a site offering educational materials to school systems by pulling together materials from national Olympic committees. The IOC within a few years also could develop "the definitive site for sports medicine," creating a home for the vast reference material and research amassed by the IOC, Mr. Payne said. Another site could be devoted to Olympic collectibles. Mr. Payne envisions e-commerce opportunities at some point.
The IOC has brought on a Webmaster, Franklin Servan-Schreiber, from Sony Corp., to develop a non-Games site and help steer Internet development.
IBM Corp., as the IOC's global tech sponsor, is developing the site for the 2000 Summer Games in Sydney. But in parting with IBM earlier this year on future Games sponsorship, the IOC made it clear it views the Internet as a medium, not as a category to be controlled by one sponsor.
CONSORTIUM TO DEVELOP FOR WEB
The consortium of tech sponsors the IOC is creating to replace IBM for 2002 through 2008 will help develop Internet work, but projects will be overseen by the IOC. The Internet will become, Mr. Payne said, "a whole new leading-edge platform with the world's biggest event."
Copyright December 1998, Crain Communications Inc.