In the scope of the 2010 winter games coming to Vancouver in just over a week now, there are many issues that people are discussing that are probably much more impacting to the large scope of what would be considered important. There’s part of me that feels like the following topic is one that is frustrating enough to me to give it a little bit of attention.
VANOC made the choice long ago as to who would be the official credit card in 2010. This went to Visa, who has a long history of being a supporter of the Olympics.
What this basically means is that VANOC got a large sum of money from Visa to use the “official” tag within their brand as well as accompanying images and logos of the 2010 games. This is your standard deal when it comes to sponsorship, and that money from Visa has a hand in making this whole thing actually happen, making this contract a good one for VANOC in the long run.
This is where my knowledge of the contract for being an official sponsor breaks down, but where my aggravation resides in their mutual agreement comes from a consumer’s perspective, not to mention as a local resident in Vancouver.
Aside from all of the logos, ads, and commercials you see on TV about Visa being this official sponsor of the games, the other aspect of this deal comes in when you visit the official store of the games at The Bay in downtown Vancouver.
Rebecca and I have made our way down to the store a handful of times. Yes, we’ve bought a variety of things for ourselves and as gifts for family members around the holiday season.
What gets me extremely frustrated is the fact that only Visa debit and credit cards are accepted as payment when you purchase anything from the official, VANOC store.
Why does this matter? Well, as a local resident to Vancouver, the people who are most effected by the overall cost of these games, I cannot use the debit card from my bank to purchase any items from the official store. While cash is also accepted, you’re basically hooped if you think that you can approach the checkout with plenty of money to spend from your bank account.
Rewind to when it was Christmas time. I wandered in there a few times to do some window shopping, but as someone who doesn’t possess anything Visa, I couldn’t buy anything unless I walked into the store with a wad of cash in my wallet. During the busiest shopping period of the year, you can almost guarantee that I was not the only one who ran into this problem.
So what do you do? You tell yourself that you’ll come back to the store another time with some cash and purchase whatever it was that you wanted then. But do you actually end up making it back to the store to make said purchase? Why do that when you can pop down to Lululemon or some other store selling something 2010 looking or related item of some sort. And big shocker, you can even use your debit card!
To me, the way the partnership that VANOC established with Visa actually hurts the amount of revenue that could be made at the official store downtown if the way you could pay for their items was opened up. Sure, there are a ton of people already running around the city with all sorts of hoodies, hats, etc. Could you imagine how much more could have moved off the shelves if you could use your debit card from any bank?
Like I said, I’m a local resident of Vancouver. I had money I wanted to give VANOC so I could buy their stuff, pouring more money back into whatever sink hole of a budget these games have ballooned into.
VANOC releases updated balanced budget for 2010 Winter Games
Jan 30, 2009
Vancouver, BC — An updated, balanced operating budget of $1.76 billion, with a contingency of $77 million was released today by the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC). The updated budget places a priority on athletes, sporting competitions and the spectator experience at the Games and on television. [vancouver2010.com]
But I couldn’t. It doesn’t make economic sense to me. You have millions of people living in the lower mainland, and when the games are over, we’re the ones left to deal with the aftermath of these games. No matter how amazing, awesome, or lacking they end up being, the price tag is what a lot of locals are worried about.
Like a square peg in a round hole, VANOC makes it tougher on themselves to help make revenue back, no matter how little the profit might be from their official store sales. I had money that I wanted to give them, but this decision of Visa being everywhere VANOC wants them to be, in my opinion, prevents more people from helping that billion dollar price tag.
All of this is outside of any knowledge that I have of cost analysis or profit projections that VANOC, Visa, and people who are generally smarter than I am with it comes to dollars and numbers had with each other. However, I doubt that Visa kicked in any extra money to help out with the costs that have arisen as the games approach. Not that people would rush out to buy more 2010 threads just to help with the overall cost of the games, especially in this economy, but why have just one, single funnel for all the official store profit?
Again, I know there are far more serious issues surrounding these games, but this is a look at one that is less addressed than others. With hope, this can raise issues for future games if not for future business decisions.