Olympic Sweepstakes Aims to Bolster Database

The United States Olympic Committee is ratcheting up its database-building drive with the debut of an online sweepstakes, its second such effort in two years.

Created and executed by RealTime Media Inc., Wynnewood, PA, the U. S. Olympic Team Gold Medal Sweepstakes on usolympicteam.com is also meant to draw attention to the committee's Web store. The grand prize is a trip for two to the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

“I think we're doing it primarily trying to engage consumers with the Olympic movement and trying to expand their association beyond the 17 days of the game,” said Matt Mannelly, chief marketing officer of the nation's Olympic committee in Colorado Springs, CO.

Running through Aug. 31, the sweepstakes is promoted via a pop-up box on the usolympicteam.com home page.

The effort comes a month after the committee sent its first sponsored e-mail to opted-in usolympicteam.com users. Xerox Corp. sponsored that effort, pushing a discount on a printer product. The e-mail dropped to 24,000 consumers.

Buoyed by that e-mail, the Olympic committee's online database now stands at slightly less than 25,000 names.

“Historically, we've not done many consumer-oriented messages or promotions on the Internet,” Mannelly said.

Support for the sweepstakes is big. This month, advertisements have started running in USA Today, on television, e-mails to the Olympic committee's online database and publications, and the committee's partner Web sites.

Offline, the sweepstakes is being promoted in the U.S. Olympic Complex in Colorado Springs.

All advertisements ask consumers to visit usolympicteam.com to participate in the sweepstakes.

“I think we'd be comfortable if we got 10,000 to 15,000 new names and anything above that would be a bonus,” Mannelly said.

Sweeps registrants are asked to enter their names, addresses, e-mail addresses, dates of birth and annual household incomes.

In addition, site visitors are asked to rank their three favorite Olympic sports. Finally, they can opt-in for e-mailed news of the U.S. Olympic team; information on Olympic trip packages from CoSport, sponsor of the grand prize; and Games information from the Salt Lake Organizing Committee.

Sweepstakes sponsor CoSport is the official public package agent for the 2002 games next February.

To make the promotion viral, a Tell-A-Friend referral program has been included. Entrants can e-mail friends and earn additional entries. In fact, visitors can enter each day and earn an extra entry for each referral. This way, frequency of visits to the site might also encourage visitors to drop in on the uslympicteam.com online store.

Besides the grand prize, there are 10 second prizes that include a $100 shopping spree at the online store and 50 third prizes of official U.S. Olympic Team T-shirts.

Founded in 1993, RealTime Media has created online marketing programs for entities like the National Football League, Microsoft Corp., Maybelline and America Online.

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