— Published 9 June 2023

LVMH, a tailor-made Olympic partnership

The suspense has been kept alive for a long time. And it still is. In response to a question from FrancsJeux, Tony Estanguet explained at a press conference on Wednesday 7 June, the last day of the IOC Coordination Commission’s visit, that the partnership contract with LVMH had not yet been signed. “We must remain cautious”, added the President of the Paris 2024 OCOG.

Probably. But according to our information, the luxury group owned by Frenchman Bernard Arnault will indeed become the next premium partner of the organising committee. The sixth and, according to Tony Estanguet’s comments this week, the last on the list.

At the end of last year, the President of the OCOG announced that he would sign the contract for the first few weeks of 2023. But things have dragged on. The reason lies in the very special nature of the partnership agreement signed by LVMH with Paris 2024. It bears no resemblance to the more traditional agreements signed with the five other premium partners (BPCE, Carrefour, EDF, Orange and Sanofi).

LVMH will become a first-tier partner, a purely national status that will limit its use of the Olympic rings to French territory. However, according to a source familiar with the matter, additional sponsorship agreements have been signed with several national Olympic committees abroad. They concern certain markets that are particularly interesting for the French group and its luxury brands, mainly in Asia. Japan and South Korea in particular. But not China.

LVMH would therefore become a domestic partner of these national Olympic committees. This is a godsend for these bodies, which will be able to inherit an additional sponsor, and not the least. Revenues from these various marketing agreements would be shared with the IOC.

It is an unusual arrangement. But it seems likely to satisfy everyone, without threatening the balance patiently put in place by the IOC for its commercial strategy.

For the Paris 2024 OCOG, the arrival of the LVMH group means that the marketing programme can be completed with a new premium partner, presented as more than necessary in the penultimate report by the French Court of Auditors. A prestigious sponsor which, in Tony Estanguet’s own words, “would bring a different dimension to the project”.

For the French group, the agreement reached after months of discussions with the OCOG and the IOC means that it has a foothold in the Olympic movement. But without joining the worldwide TOP programme, where the watchmaker Omega is already in place and blocking the entry of rival brands (Hublot, Tag Heuer, Zenith, Bulgari and Dior are all part of the French group).

Finally, the IOC also appears to be a winner in the deal. The arrangements put in place to allow LVMH to enter illustrate better than many speeches its desire to support the OCOG as closely as possible in preparing for the Games, and to behave as a solid ally.