Coca-Cola and Mengniu sign as first-ever joint TOPs

The Coca-Cola Company and Chinese dairy brand Mengniu have signed the first-ever joint Worldwide ‘TOP’ Partner agreement with the International Olympic Committee.

The 12-year partnership, running through to the 2032 Olympic Games, combines the non-alcoholic beverage and the dairy categories into a new joint category.

The joint agreement also includes marketing rights for the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and the Paralympic Games through the IOC-IPC long-term collaboration agreement, as well as for the Youth Olympic Games.

According an official IOC statement, the deal will bring “unprecedented investment in traditional and digital media to promote the Olympic values globally.”

For Mengniu, the deal will support its international growth plans. Mengniu aims to become one of the biggest dairy producers in the world by 2025.

Jeffrey Lu, chief executive and executive director of Mengniu, said: “Membership of the TOP Programme will act as a catalyst for Mengniu to grow around the world. This is a vital step in our international strategy, and we are honoured to have the opportunity to build the positive reputation of Chinese food and beverage brands among consumers globally.”

James Quincey, chairman and chief executive of the Coca-Cola Company, said the deal will bring “a fresh approach to our business and to our sponsorship.”

Coca-Cola has had a presence at the Olympic Games since the 1928 Games in Amsterdam. Its current deal with the IOC is scheduled to end in 2020.

Under the new joint-agreement, Coca-Cola will continue its Olympic partnership through the Winter Games 2022 in Beijing, the Summer Games 2024 in Paris, the Winter Games 2026, the Summer Games 2028 in Los Angeles, and the Olympic Games in 2030 and 2032.

The host city for the 2026 Winter Games will be named later today.

As reported in SportBusiness Sponsorship last week, Mengiu’s dairy sector rival Yili – an Official Partner of Beijing 2022 – has threatened to pull out of its sponsorship due to the Mengniu deal.

Addressing this issue indirectly, the IOC said in its official statement: “Olympic marketing programmes are based on the fundamental principle of exclusivity within a specific product category and territory.

“The current Beijing 2022 domestic partner’s exclusive rights in its designated category in the Chinese market will not be affected.”

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