This month, the International Olympic Committee has been commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the establishment of its headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland. The occasion provided a base for a major announcement, that is that the IOC will extend its lease to remain in Lausanne, Switzerland for another hundred years. This long-term commitment is adding momentum to major new initiatives backed by large investments to create durable organizations designed to help the sports community strengthen talent to achieve future growth goals:
The Olympic Television Channel became a going concern this March. Olympic Channel Services (OCS) S.A. was registered in Switzerland as an umbrella organization for a global television channel devoted to Olympic related programming. Over the long-term, individual national channels offering local language broadcasts will build off this foundation. Two of the most prominent leaders in the media world, former NBC Sports chief Dick Ebersol and current Google/YouTube CEO Eric Schmidt have advised the new venture about successful media launch strategies.
Also in March, “The Olympic Partners” program, a platinum level sponsorship program that combines products, services, cash and contacts, expanded to include automaker Toyota. The sponsorship covers the four years Olympics period starting in 2020 and is estimated to add as much as $1 billion in total resources during the four year cycle.
This April, the IOC launched a new Integrity and Compliance Hotline. This program will provide an effective infrastructure to investigate and combat match fixing or more exotic forms of manipulating sports competition, manipulation of medical records and medical test results, as well as questionable citizenship changes. This consolidation of resources is supported by clear enforcement authority for the Court of Arbitration for Sports in Lausanne.
The IOC Athlete Learning Gateway will be introduced on May 28. This next generation virtual campus is designed to enable athletes to balance the demands of global travel for international competitions with their long-term educational and career goals. This global online educational institution will offer free online courses to Olympic athletes, as well as coaches and elite athletes who participate in Olympic qualifying events. This program reflects a team effort by sports institutes and athlete training centers, sports leaders, Olympic athletes, and the large academic community that has become more actively engaged in Olympic studies. The planned curriculum is broad and will enable student-athletes to acquire valuable skills in information technology, nutrition planning, business administration and a variety of other fields that can support a successful second career following their athletic careers.
These ambitious long-term plans earned global attention when IOC President Thomas Bach addressed the United Nations on April 15. UN General Assembly H.E. Sam Kutesa, also spoke at the program, called “United Action towards Sustainable Development for All Through Sport.”
These model programs are giving real meaning to the goal of sustainability and taking it far past its status to date as a slogan that got a lot of attention, but did not get the large investments required to make sustainability a reality. High level support at the United Nations was reinforced by high profile meetings between IOC President Thomas Bach and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, as well as Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin, French President Francois Hollande, and many other influential heads of state.