The Greeks are seemingly determined that sponsorship of the Olympic Games, due to return to its Athenian roots in 2004, will not be hijacked by multinational brands.

The privately owned Alpha Bank has become the highest-spending sponsor in the history of the Games, with its offer of 22,942,158,685 Greek drachmae (£43m / $62.5m) – three times the minimum bid and double the payout at last year’s Sydney Games.

In kindred patriotic vein, Athinaiki Brewery has slapped £10m on the table – 20% over the minimum payment and thrice the sum paid by any previous beer sponsor.

The duo join Greek telecoms operator OTE whose Olympic sponsorship spend is £31.25m, reports the Games’ organiser, Athens-based Athoc. Three tiers of sponsorship are available: major national sponsor, official supporter and official supplier.

Says International Olympic Committee marketing director Michael Payne: "This is a phenomenal result and clear evidence of the confidence that the business community has for the 2004 games. The sponsorship will set new standards for Olympic marketing."

News Source: CampaignLive (UK)