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RIBA welcomes Olympics marketing ban overturn

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The RIBA has celebrated the government’s decision to finally allow companies to talk about their role in the Olympics

Under strict a marketing protocol practices who designed Olympic stadiums and infrastructure were forbidden from promoting their connection to the 2012 Games.

The new deal between the Department for Culture Media & Sport, the British Olympic Association (BOA) and the International Olympic Committee, sees the controversial blanket ban removed.

A ‘supplier recognition scheme’ set up by the BOA will allow companies to promote their London 2012 work in tender bids, at trade shows and in industry awards.

The government paid the BOA £2 million to set up the scheme which will allow companies to apply for free licences to market their schemes. A BOA spokesman told The Guardian the fee was charged because: ‘These rights have a value, and it is through the sale of Olympic marketing rights that we create revenues so we can provide high-performance support to our athletes during the Olympic games.’

Culture secretary Maria Miller said: ‘Now we have removed the barrier, companies can capitalise on the role they played at home and abroad by really selling their involvement in one of the biggest and most successful projects this country has ever put on.’

RIBA president Angela Brady said: ‘After six months of working hard with Peter Murray and John Nolan on the DROPTHEBAN campaign I am delighted to hear that our architects, engineers and design teams are being recognised for their tremendous efforts in designing the stunning Olympic park and village in London.’

‘The majority of the architects and designers we were standing up for in the campaign were young small businesses who just wanted to be able to promote their work. It’s great that they are now able to speak freely about their contribution to the success of the 2012 Games and get the recognition they deserve. Our architects, engineers and designers can now promote their Games projects and will be a much better starting place when it comes to winning work in similar scale projects around the world.’

Stuart Fraser, partner at Make and architect of the Handball Arena said: ‘Being part of the Olympics was too good an opportunity to miss; all suppliers signed up to the ODA’s confidentiality contract before they began, so were fully aware of the restrictions. It is undeniably great however, that our involvement can now be promoted more freely.’

Teva Hesse of C.F. Møller said: ‘While the need to maintain tight security and brand identity before and during the Games was understandable, it is disappointing that we have not been able to shout from the rooftops about our involvement in the Athlete’s Village. It’s great that our practice and others who worked so hard to create a successful Olympic site can now do so.’

Stride Treglown director Dominic Eaton said: ‘As someone on the outside, who would have loved to have been involved in designing a building for the Olympics, this campaign to lift the ban came across as a bit of a whinge. Was it a ban, or the basis on which the appointments were made and agreed ?

‘What confuses me, is that we were all aware of who the architects were and the buildings with which they were involved. The “supplier recognition scheme”set up by the British Olympic Association will allow companies to promote their London 2012 work in tender bids, at trade shows and in industry awards.

‘With regards ‘industry awards’ the velodrome by Hopkins was shortlisted for the Stirling prize in 2011, and the Olympic Stadium by Populous in 2012. I recall during the games, one presenter standing in front of the Aquatic Centre highlighted that the building was designed by Zaha Hadid.

‘There was a time when architects couldn’t advertise and had to rely on their buildings to do the talking for them. With the unprecedented media coverage of the games, plenty of buildings were showcased to a global audience. I would have been delighted with that.’

Jason Prior, chief executive of Buildings + Places at AECOM: ‘I’m absolutely delighted that the marketing restrictions on those companies involved in London 2012 have been lifted. The success of the Olympics this summer has proved that UK PLC has the talent, skill and now, experience to design and deliver world class events globally. We are now in the enviable position of being able to promote and export our significant skills to a global audience, who will be hoping to emulate the success of London 2012 this summer.

‘The value to the UK economy of the Olympics and other major sporting events is undoubted, indeed Davos has said that 2% of global GDP is generated by mega sporting events and given the current global trading environment it would seem that this is the ideal platform to promote British skills and products to a receptive market.’



Postscript: RIBA Awards update

Olympic buildings which are now eligible to enter the awards have an extension on their awards application deadline to 8th Feb, the same date as the rest of the UK (outside of London) have their application deadline.  All entrants are strongly encouraged not to leave it until the last minute to avoid everybody uploading on the system at the same time.



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