What has happened?
The Australian Olympic Committee, (governed by the IOC), have just launched changes to Rule 40 that were introduced by the IOC in June. This change, to what was a very black and white rule, is in response to athlete pressure to allow them to “realise their earning potential” by being able to promote their sponsors during the Olympic Games period. Whilst athletes sponsors, who are not official IOC/AOC partners, still cannot congratulate an athlete during the games, they can now use their athletes in “generic campaigns” subject to certain criteria.
The Media Store Take
What we are now seeing surface is a further example of the impact of social media and the direct consequence of this in terms of athletes as powerful channels, and the ultimate influence this has. The relaxing of the rule will need to be followed up by an Olympic effort from the AOC in monitoring non partners activity, and the exact nature of its athletes posts. Whilst protecting official AOC partners is the obvious threat, the real unknown is the impact of loosening the clean space of the games has on the athletes as a collective. In theory it sounds inclusive, but there is a real threat. It might only elevate the value of a golden few, whose already high profile will have their image and opportunity for revenue gain further enhanced, whilst at the same time potentially devaluing the official body that funds them.