POSTED: August 14th 2013

TOP Sponsor soft drink conglomerate Coca-Cola weights in on LGBT issue for Sochi 2014

World famous brand and Olympic sponsor since 1928 / Coke
World famous brand and Olympic sponsor since 1928 / Coke

LAURA WALDEN / Sports Features Communications

(SFC) Following the worldwide outcry against Russian anti-gay legislation and the effect on the Olympic Games now soft drink giant Coca-Cola weighs in with a statement. Coke has been a member of the Olympic sponsorship program for decades and when you start having the organizations that step up with tens of millions of dollars in sponsorship revenue and value in kind investments this raises red flags. Expensive red flags.

“As one of the world’s most inclusive brands, we value and celebrate diversity.  We have long been a strong supporter of the LGBT community and have advocated for inclusion and diversity through both our policies and practices. We do not condone human rights abuses, intolerance or discrimination of any kind anywhere in the world. 

As a sponsor since 1928, we believe the Olympic Games are a force for good that unite people through a common interest in sports, and we have seen firsthand the positive impact and long-lasting legacy they leave on every community that has been a host. 

We support the ideals of the Olympics and are proud to continue our role in helping to make the Olympics a memorable experience for athletes, fans and communities all around the world.”

Last week billion dollar American rights holder NBC sent out a memo to their staff reassuring LGBT employees that they would take steps to keep them safe as well.

Russia has pulled out the stops to invest $51 billion dollars in these winter Games and since the news of this legislation went public it has been the daily trending news story about the Olympics.

From a public relations point of view, instead of reading negative stories about policy in the country, Olympic fans should be getting excited about the upcoming Games and hunting travel arrangements to come and visit. Instead the reaction has spurred millions of dollars of daily negative publicity about Sochi and Russia in a counterproductive way.

This is hurting the $51 billion dollar investment and certainly all the LGBT people that were planning to go to the Games are probably rethinking that decision to spend their travel dollars in Russia.

Keywords · Olympics · Coca Cola · Sochi 2014

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