Mengniu Dairy and Coca-Cola sign joint Olympic sponsorship

Dairy giant expects multi-year partnership to be 'catalyst' for global growth.

Olympics partnership: Coke president and CEO James Quincey, IOC president Thomas Bach and Lu
Olympics partnership: Coke president and CEO James Quincey, IOC president Thomas Bach and Lu

China's Mengniu Dairy Company and Coca-Cola have signed a 12-year agreement as joint partners in The Olympic Partner programme. The move was hinted at last week. 

The partnership, according to the International Olympic Committee, combines the non-alcoholic beverage and dairy categories into a new joint category and brings Mengniu into the family of TOP partners. The deal will run through to the Olympic Games in 2032. Financial details were not disclosed, but published reports have said the partnership is worth as much $3bn. 

Seemingly trying to address concerns raised last week by Mengniu rival Yili, the IOC stated that Olympic marketing programmes are based on "the fundamental principle of exclusivity within a specific product category and territory" and asserted that "the current Beijing 2022 domestic partner’s exclusive rights in its designated category in the Chinese market will not be affected".

The new agreement extends Coke's association with the Olympics to 104 years and makes Mengniu the first Chinese FMCG company to become a TOP partner. 

Jeffrey Lu, chief executive and executive director at Mengniu, said in a release that membership in the TOP programme will act as a "catalyst" for Mengniu to grow around the world. "This is a vital step in our international strategy and we are honoured to have the opportunity to build the positive reputation of Chinese food and beverage brands among consumers globally," he said.

Worldwide Olympic partners support every National Olympic Committee and their teams, as well as every organiser of the Olympic Games, in addition to providing support for athletes’ training and development.

The agreement also includes marketing rights for the International Paralympic Committee and the Paralympic Games, as well as for the Youth Olympic Games. 

A version of this story first appeared on Campaign Asia-Pacific

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