Pinsent questions sponsorship potential of Paralympians

Mathew Pinsent: four-time Olympic gold medal rower
Mathew Pinsent: four-time Olympic gold medal rower

Sir Matthew Pinsent, the four-time Olympic gold medal winner, believes the road to a time when Paralympians will be as marketable as Olympians will be long, despite all the plaudits and media attention heaped on stars such as Ellie Simmons and Jonnie Peaccok.

Pinsent was speaking yesterday (27 September) at the Sports Marketing 360 conference, the global sports marketing event, alongside high-profile marketers such as Mike Sharrock, partnership director at BP; Suzi Williams, group marketing and brand director BT, and Nathan Homer, Olympics project director at P&G.

Pinsent was asked a number of questions about the Olympics and Paralympics, centred on comparisons between the two events and the sponsorship potential of the individual athletes.

He said: "For me, the growth capacity of the Paralympics is much steeper than the Olympics. Can the stars be just as marketable? Yes. Will it happen soon? It will be very hard to judge."

One of the arguments put forward why the Paralympians will not attract the sponsorship appeal of Olympics is that there are very few Paralympic events following on from the Paralympic Games.

This differs from the Olympics events such as athletics, which have a calendar of high-profile events in between the Olympics.

Pinsent also pointed to the fact that the Paralympics was consumed in what he termed a "London bubble", highlighting that in the US, there were was just five hours of Paralympic coverage in total.

Meanwhile, speakers on the panel were asked about the calibre of the creative work during the Olympics.

Sean Jefferson, head of entertainment, sport and partnerships at Mindshare, said "I didn't see any creative cut-through we will look back on."

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