Beijing: Audience bust or boom?

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Speculation about the Summer 2008 games advertising landscape arose again yesterday as reports circulate that the International Olympic Committee has asked host city Beijing to allow open access to the Internet during the competition.
China notoriously blocks access to selected Web sites, in particular foreign news Web sites and blogs that may be viewed as controversial to its government. According to the reports I have seen, no final decision has been reached on this issue.
This is just one in a series of setbacks that may affect the viewership and participation in the games, among them controversy over Darfur and recent unrest in Tibet.
However, for those marketers with campaign plans around the Beijing games (more than $1.1 billion was spent at the 2006 Winter games), history actually may provide cause to be optimistic about the audience size that can be expected during controversial games. The last time an Olympic boycott was discussed was at the 1936 Berlin Games, and while many Jewish organizations did not participate, 49 countries supplied athletes – a record number at the time.
DMNews will be watching as marketers gear up for the games, so let us know what you’ve got planned to reach sports fans around the world, and if political concerns are affecting your plans.

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