EDF Energy set to sponsor London's 2012 Olympic bid

LONDON - London 2012, London’s Olympic bid team, is poised to unveil utilities giant EDF Energy as its first top-tier sponsor. The signing is critical, coming a month before the International Olympic Committee (IOC) meets to decide which cities to shortlist as candidates to host the Games.

London 2012 is seeking more than £12m in sponsorship to support the bidding process. Signing top-level sponsors – those willing to commit in excess of £1m – is considered a key factor in any successful bid.

Securing such sponsors will help to prove to the IOC, which next meets on May 18, that the London bid has won the necessary commercial support to host the Olympics.

EDF has seconded a senior marketer to work with the London 2012 team and is expected to confirm its sponsorship in the next few weeks.

A spokeswoman for London 2012 confirmed it was in talks with EDF Energy and that an EDF marketer was working with the bid team, but denied the company had yet signed as a sponsor.

The search for partners has been hampered as a number of heavyweight contenders are not eligible to be signed by London 2012, as they are already sponsors of the IOC. These include McDonald’s, Coca-Cola and Samsung.

For EDF, formerly known as London Electricity Group, the sponsorship is a key part of its long-term strategy to promote its umbrella name to UK consumers.

The company has committed a £25m marketing budget to promoting the brand, products and services. This week it will launch its first TV ad campaign for its three regional retail brands: London Energy, Seeboard Energy and SWEB Energy. The ads, by Maher Bird Associates, will run until the end of May.

The eight other cities seeking to become official candidates for the 2012 Games are: Paris, Leipzig, New York, Moscow, Istanbul, Havana, Madrid and Rio de Janeiro.

London 2012 has four tiers for bid sponsors: premier partners contributing £1m or more; major partners paying £500,000 to £1m; bid champions, who will pay £150,000 to £500,000; and bid supporters paying £15,000 to £150,000.

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