And We’re Done – Key Takeaways From Rio

Now that I’m currently en route to Los Angeles, ready and anxious to begin my summer internship with DIRECTV on Tuesday, I have finally found a few spare moments to write one last blog post. With the global IRP trip nearly 2 weeks behind us, I just wanted to take a quick moment to debrief you all on what happened toward the tail end of our trip.

The last few days of our trip was anything but quiet and relaxing (although we did manage to fit in one more beach volleyball match). Albeit our sightseeing and adventure activities, our schedule was jam-packed with many more fabulous speakers, including Coca-Cola, Pedro from Effect Sports Marketing, Jay Newhouse, the Director of Marketing at FIFA, the Rio Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, and Sandro Sato, a representative from Dow Chemical responsible for executing his company’s TOP Olympic sponsorship program. Among topics the various speakers discussed during their respective presentations, there’s one common theme that emerged – doing business in Brazil, whether it’s sports-related or not, is tough. There’s a lot of “red tape” (as one Brazilian business executive put it) and it’s tough to navigate the Brazilian government and respective business policies.

On a slightly different note, one thing that many businesses are often (correction, always) concerned about when making the decision to sponsor sporting events and how to activate the partnerships is, of course, the associated ROI. While eyeballs are great, and we all intuitively know that marketing and sponsorship spend positively correlates with awareness, and perhaps even trial, above all, this trip really taught me that event sponsorship does have business and financial value, especially with an event like the Olympics. Sandro from Dow Chemical shared a few numbers with us: Directly attributable to the Olympics, a study done by Embratur and PWC projects $14.4B in direct investments, $11.6B in city infrastructure, and 11mm tourists per year by 2020. Someone has to execute these contracts and cater to these new visitors, right? Though it’s not explicitly stated in the contract, it is often inferred that Olympic sponsors have a better shot at winning these contracts. So if a company pays, say, $600mm to become TOP sponsor, but is awarded a $1B new business contract in the process… Well, you do the math. Not to mention the positive brand association value that can never be stamped with a price tag. So in many cases, as long as a sporting event sponsorship program is executed correctly, the results more than pay for themselves.

After all our meetings had passed, the only thing standing between our group and the long plane flight home was the final presentation. This is where we had to boil down 10+ weeks of research on our assigned topic areas into a 15-minute presentation. Our group did a lot of preparation, but in the end I think we gave a great performance, and the attendees seemed to be enthusiastic about our research. Presentation – Down! Time to go home! Here’s to a trip well done.

After saying goodbye to Rio for good, I jetted off to Buenos Aires to enjoy the “Paris of South America” for 5 days with a small group of classmates. It was nice to contrast our experience in Rio with another, more developed area of South America, as well as enjoy some well-deserved time off. While in Buenos Aires, we enjoyed several nice dinners, quite a bit of sightseeing, and an Argentine football match. But of course, Buenos Aires wasn’t all fun and games, as I still had my portion of our group’s final report to finish in my downtime. But our report came together quite nicely (all 106 pages of it!) (Side note, if you are interested in reading my group’s 106-page final write-up on Spectator Experience, check it out!)

While the trip did have its down moments, overall, I enjoyed the IRP experience. It was a great time to go to Brazil, given their economic situation, and it was also neat to work with Rio2016 and meet and mingle with so many inspirational speakers. I found the information I learned on this trip particularly interesting to my current situation because, in just a few days I will begin my journey as a summer intern at DIRECTV in Los Angeles, and analyst comments regarding the company’s recent Q1 earnings reports cite its expansion into South America – particularly Brazil – as one of the primary drivers behind the company’s financial success. Now, as I’m getting ready to pack up my laptop and begin my final descent to LA, I must say goodbye… Or should I say, Obrigada!

~Andrea

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