NEWS16 June 2009

London 2012 appoints Nielsen as official MR provider

New business UK

US— The Nielsen Company has been appointed as the official provider of market research services to the London 2012 Olympic Games.

London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe said: “The Nielsen Company will assist us in the decision-making process by testing our ideas in the marketplace.”

At an event in London today he told Nielsen employees: “We recognise that we can’t second guess what people are saying. The most demanding stakeholder we have is the 60 million people out there who think they can pick the football team – we have to understand everything about what they think.”

Coe said Nielsen had beaten off competition in an “extremely lively category” to become the official market research provider.

Working in collaboration with the London 2012 marketing team, Nielsen will undertake all the market research for the organising committee for the games, including developing a market research strategy, tracking studies and organising online panels and surveys. Susan Whiting, vice chair of the company, said the deal was an opportunity for Nielsen to combine its expertise in consumer and media research.

Nielsen becomes the 20th commercial sponsor of the games, and as a ‘tier three’ provider, will contribute £10-£20 million worth of services. The company provided similar services during the Beijing games after approaching the organising committee to offer its services, but 2012 will be the first time the Olympics has had an official provider of market research.

An earlier contract awarded to Opinion Leader by the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (Locog) and the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) was split when Locog decided that research services would be sponsored. Opinion Leader continues to provide research services to the ODA.

Bob McCann, who led Nielsen’s bid, said the company was “thrilled” to be appointed. “There’s no question it’s a very complicated and complex project – that was our experience in Beijing and our expectation is that this one will be more complicated again,” he told Research. “This is a chance for a company like ours to demonstrate to the world the power of research. Measuring consumer behaviour, measuring what products people buy, measuring the TV that people view, the magazines and newspapers that people read…”

Paul Deighton, chief executive of Locog, the organising committee for the London games, said Nielsen would be charged with measuring the organisers’ success in providing the right experience for athletes, engaging the public in the games, inspiring young people, transforming East London, and promoting London as a city.