Similar to Comcast/NBC Universal’s claims to all broadcasting rights and Heineken’s pouring rights at the Olympic park, Citi will be the official bank of the 2012 US Team for the next two years. Citi will be replacing Bank of America whose deal expired in 2008. Such an early deal benefits both Citi, which will be able to integrate the USOC image into its marketing campaigns, and the Committee, which will be able to begin promoting its athletes well before the games.
In recent years, the economic downturn led several banks and financial entities to cut funding to sports organizations. Citi is one of the many financial groups that received aid from the federal government during the recession, bringing it some sharp criticism and intense scrutiny. Now that Citi has paid back the $45 billion it received in aid, this deal and others like it will be an important part of shaping Citi’s post-recession image.
Ed Skyler, executive VP for global public affairs, stated it best, “Sponsoring the team is a great way to express our gratitude to the American people for their support, not just over the last three years, but our 200-year history…Comebacks happen in business just like they do in sports.”