The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will make billions of dollars in revenue during the 2016 Summer Olympics, none of which will be paid directly to Olympic athletes. In addition, restrictive advertising rules make it nearly impossible for athletes to support their training and their livelihood by displaying individual sponsorships on their body or apparel.
Integrated marketing agency Hanson Dodge Creative (HDC) and two-time Olympic runner Nick Symmonds have partnered to launch the #OwnYourSkin campaign calling for the fair compensation of Olympic athletes leading up to the 2016 Summer Games.
“Billions of dollars exchange hands during every Olympic cycle, and zero of these dollars go to the athletes directly. It’s wrong and certainly not consistent with nearly every other professional sport,” Symmonds said. “We created the #OwnYourSkin campaign to shed light on this injustice and to demand a revenue sharing model or, at the least, allow athletes to advertise their sponsors."
Two-time U.S. champion distance runner Lauren Fleshman is one of numerous other USA Track and Field (USATF) athletes already onboard with the #OwnYourSkin campaign. "This campaign for me is about helping fans and athletes become mindful of the value the athletes bring as economic drivers of our sport, and how little we are currently able to monetize it,” Fleshman said. “The way things currently are will always keep the majority of pro athletes in our sport poor. It simply will not get better until we demand change, and change starts with awareness and education."
According to a recent study, more than 50 percent of USATF athletes live below the poverty line.
“The very best athletes in the world, the ones we expect to represent our country’s potential, are struggling to make ends meet. We got behind Nick and created the #OwnYourSkin movement to raise awareness for a cause we believe in,” HDC President Tim Dodge said. “If the U.S. wants to continue to see its athletes standing at the top of the podium, things have to change. They deserve better. Without them, there are no games.”
HDC launched the campaign website (own-your-skin.com) as the beginning to a social movement that will continue through the Olympic trials and culminate at the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro.
“We don’t want to give too much away yet, but expect to hear from the #OwnYourSkin movement at the Olympic trials and in Rio,” Symmonds said.
HDC and Symmonds first partnered in 2012 when the agency won Symmonds’ ebay auction for advertising space on his shoulder for $11,100. Symmonds wore the HDC logo via temporary tattoo during Olympic competition, but due to the restrictive sponsorship rules, had to cover the logo with a piece of tape. The tattoo and the tape received coverage from more than 100 major news outlets and sparked a conversation that ultimately led to USATF dropping advertising restrictions.
HDC will continue its sponsorship of Symmonds heading into the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, and a tattoo with the agency’s logo and Twitter handle, @hansondodge, will appear—covered with tape—on his left forearm during upcoming competitions. Symmonds recently auctioned off space on his shoulder for the second time—this time, the winning bid went to John Legere, CEO of T-Mobile, for $21,800.
About Hanson Dodge Creative
Hanson Dodge Creative (HDC) is a fully integrated, strategically driven agency with more than 30 years of experience working with leading active, healthy and sustainable brands like Trek, Wilson, K-Swiss and more. We unleash the full power of our collective mind to inspire audiences and transform business. Our specialties are brand engagement, campaign development, technology solutions and digital commerce.
About Nick Symmonds
Nick Symmonds is a two-time Olympian for Team USA - Track and Field. He specializes in the the 800m. An avid outdoorsman, Nick lives and trains in the Pacific Northwest. Learn more at nicksymmonds.com and follow Nick at @NickSymmonds.