London 2012 Organizers Sign First License To Thrill

Prototype of London bus toy that will be available for the 2012 Summer Games.July 22, 2009: The Organizing Committee for the 2012 Olympics in London said it has signed a deal with Hornby, a models and collectibles company based in the U.K., to produce toys and souvenirs for the event. This is the first licensing deal in the category unveiled by the London organizers. Financial terms for the agreement, which will run for three years and extend beyond the 2012 Games, were not disclosed.

Hornby will produce an extensive range of official London 2012 merchandise across its Corgi, Hornby, Scalextric and Airfix brands, the first of which will be available for the 2009 holiday season. These would include Corgi die cast model vehicles such as London taxis and buses and collectable die cast figurines, Hornby model trains based on trains that will be part of the Olympic Park transport network, Airfix kits of the main venues including the Olympic Stadium and Scalextric velodrome sets. All will feature the official London 2012 Olympic logo.

The toy and souvenir categories are essential and potent sources of revenue for organizers of the Olympics. According to a marketing report released in April by the International Olympic Committee, the 2008 Olympics in Bejing had more than 8,000 licensed products, "the largest in Olympic Games history," all managed by the Beijing Organizing Committee under the direction of the IOC. The report said that more than 64 million such items were sold to more than 20 million people worldwide, with total royalty revenue topping $100 million.

Although the London Games might not have the same global impact as the event in China, organizers are not underestimating the sales jolt of Olympic-related booty. "One of the most exciting things about our commercial program is the possibilities it offers in the licensing and merchandise arena," Paul Deighton, CEO of LOCOG, said in a statement. "We are proud to be working with a truly iconic British company, which can offer us a great range of products across its brands that will celebrate the Games in 2012 and live on for generations after as collector’s items."

Toy and souvenir licenses also are expected to include items from worldwide Olympic partners that are signed up for London 2012, such as are Coca-Cola, Acer, Atos Origin, GE, McDonald’s, Omega, Panasonic, Samsung and Visa.

"We can offer major partners significant licensing opportunities across our brands," Frank Martin, Hornby CEO, said in a statement. "We have some very exciting plans that we are developing with LOCOG to create official merchandise that will demonstrate the very best of London and the Games."

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