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Ad spending on London medalists plummets: report

By Ling Yuhuan (Global Times)

09:15, August 16, 2012

Investment in advertising based on gold medalists at the London Olympic Games is estimated to have fallen to about 3 billion yuan ($471 million), less than half the level at the Beijing Games, a Guangzhou-based research institute revealed Thursday.

Based on telephone interviews with 612 Chinese chief brand officers (CBOs), the China Brand Research Institute predicted that the gold medalists of the London Games would attract advertising investment worth about 3 billion yuan, well below that of the Beijing and Athens Games, which drew in 6.5 billion yuan and 4 billion yuan respectively.

Chinese top athletes Sun Yang, Ye Shiwen and Lin Dan became the three most desirable targets for domestic advertisers, according to the CBOs. Sun is expected to earn more than 50 million yuan from endorsements in the future.

Advertisement spending by sports brands in China in the first half of 2012 fell by 23 percent year-on-year, according to statistics from Beijing-based consultancy CTR Media Intelligence. In the first half of 2008, by comparison, it increased by 80 percent year-on-year, the company said.

"More foreign sports stars and showbiz stars have been chosen to endorse Chinese sports brands in recent years, which also explains why the advertisement spending on the London gold medalists has fallen," Lin Xianpeng, a professor with the Beijing Sport University told the Global Times.

The fact that medalists at the Athens Games attracted more endorsement revenue than at the London Games is partly due to the strong appeal of some of the champions, such as Liu Xiang, Zheng Xueqin a researcher with China Brand Research Institute, told the Global Times.

Yan Qiang, a sports commentator, told the Global Times that the surge in advertisement spending on athletes at the Beijing Games was also due to their excellent performance.

Yan said the commercial value of an athlete was influenced by his/her appearance, personality and charisma, as well as the audience size for different sporting events.

The commercial value of 110-meter hurdler Liu Xiang is estimated to be more than 1 billion yuan, whereas the commercial value of swimmer Sun Yang is considered to be roughly 400 million yuan, according to the report.

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