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Atkins poised to sign Olympic sponsorship deal

Atkins this week emerged as the first firm from the construction sector prepared to be an official sponsor of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

It is understood the consultant is in the process of signing the sponsorship deal with the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG).

The deal will allow Atkins to advertise itself as a tier three London 2012 supporter, using the Games logo.

Tier three sponsors typically pay a small amount of cash and provide goods and services in kind in exchange for being named the official supplier of their category of service. In Atkins' case this would be engineering services which could be supplied free.

Atkins would also be able to use the London 2012 logo on advertising and promotional material.

It is understood that Atkins is applying for this level of sponsorship.

Atkins is masterplanning the Olympic Park with Arup and EDAW but like all firms involved, has so far been prevented from widely advertising the fact that it is a key Games supplier.

The sponsorship deal will hand it a commercial advantage over competitors working on the Park.

Engineers from other consultants involved with the Games were surprisingly relaxed about the prospect of having Atkins’ logo adorning their structures.

"If they’ve got that much cash in the bank to be able to offer services for free then, good luck to them," said one engineer working on the Park's infrastructure.

"I would only have a problem with them being a sponsor if it began to impinge on our intellectual property, if they began taking credit for our work."

Likewise an engineer working on one of the Games' key venues said he had no objections to Atkins' sponsorship of the Games, as long as conflicts of interest were avoided.

"LOCOG has got to get its money and services from somewhere. As long as Atkins doesn't become the subject of favouritism, then fine, I don’t mind their logo on my structure," he said.

While construction of the Games is funded by the public sector through the £9.3bn Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) programme, LOCOG is responsibile for running the Games itself, and its £2.1bn budget is entirely privately funded.

Of this, £700M is expected to come from sponsorship, with sponsors also expected to offer goods and services in kind to the event.

Sponsorship is available at three levels – Tier one sponsors, the Game’s official partners, typically pay a minimum of £40M to LOCOG and in addition provide goods and services. In return they can advertise their involvement, and can customise the London 2012 logo to match their own corporate colours.

Current tier one sponsors are Adidas, BP, BT, British Airways, EDF, Lloyds TSB and Nortel.

Tier two supporters, typically pay a minimum of £10M, but can only use the official version and colour schemes of the logo. Deloitte is currently the only confirmed official tier two supporter.

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