What’s the measure of Rule 40?
10 August 2016 by Thomas Utting
The 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro have officially now kicked off, and with that brought the commencement of Rule 40.
Rule 40 states that from 27 July until 24 August, so-called “Olympic-related terms” can only be referenced by official sponsors of the Games. Included in these “Olympic-related terms” are the words ‘Rio’, ‘2016’, ‘Gold’, ‘Silver’, ‘Bronze’, ‘Olympic’, ‘Medal’, ‘Victory’, ‘Performance’ and many more.
Any breach of this Rule could lead to athletes being disciplined and even losing medals. As many personal sponsors such as kit suppliers are not official sponsors of the games, this has created the unfortunate position where sponsors are not even able to tweet an athlete to wish them good luck, lest they fall foul of this Rule.
The Rule is not a new one and was designed to maximising the revenue generated by official sponsors which is subsequently passed on to athletes and sporting federations. Unfortunately, the strictness of the Rule has not gone down well with competitors and sponsors alike.
One brand, Brooks Running Co., even went so far as to launch a campaign in protest and to raise awareness of this Rule. Part of this campaign involved placing a mobile billboard outside the Field Olympic Trials to display overly-generic messages such as “Good luck, you know who you are, on making it you know where.”
Many athletes took to publicly thanking their sponsors for all of their support on 26th July, their final opportunity before Rule 40 officially came into effect.
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