Special to NYSportsJournalism.com
December 5, 2013: The 2014 Winter Olympics will take place in Sochi, Russia, but the U.S. Olympic Committee and Team USA will first take a trip down Sesame Street.
The USOC said it has "partnered" with Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization, to be an official affiliate of Team USA through the Sochi 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
The USOC said that the joint venture would include "inspirational and educational online content" featuring the Muppets from Sesame Street and Team USA athletes, a Sesame Street family pavilion at all USOC Road to Sochi Tour stops and Sesame Street Winter Games-themed children’s apparel available at retail stores and online.
A portion of all sales proceeds will support U.S. Olympic and Paralympic athletes and hopefuls.
There will also be a Games-themed Sesame Street episode that will air in February featuring Olympic figure skating champion Evan Lysacek. Both organizations will support the athletes through a robust social media campaign before and during the Sochi Winter Games.
A promo spot was launched to coincide with the official unveiling of the alliance in which Sesame Street's Elmo encourages people to support Team USA. (See the spot here.)
USOC said the alliance was initiated during the 2012 Summer Games in London and "soft-launched" without official word during the Road to Sochi 100 Day Countdown event in New York's Times Square on Oct. 29 with a Sesame Street family pavilion.
“We are thrilled to officially welcome Sesame Street into the U.S. Olympic Family,” Peter Zeytoonjian, USOC managing director of direct marketing, consumer products and events, said in a statement. “Thanks to Elmo, Abby and Grover — whose special appearances at USA House during the London 2012 Olympic Games helped catalyze discussions for this partnership — now even the youngest fans will be able to show their support for Team USA through this endearing Team USA, Sesame Workshop endeavor.”
Sesame Street will participate in the USOC’s full Road to Sochi Tour presented by Liberty Mutual Insurance, a 13-stop interactive sports event that traveling throughout the country. At each tour stop, Sesame Street will have a co-branded interactive family tent; a costumed character Elmo will make special appearances at select stops.
The Road to Sochi Tour presented by Liberty Mutual hits Dallas this weekend (Dec. 7-8) and will run through the final stop, in New York's Grand Central Terminal, on Feb. 23. (Full Tour schedule here.)
According to Maura Regan, svp and GM-global consumer products for Sesame Workshop, “This unique venture with the United States Olympic Committee is a wonderful way to reinforce important lessons like healthy habits, good sportsmanship, and teamwork – concepts Sesame Street has delivered for over four decades to millions of children,” said . “This new, delightful Sesame Street content will bring together the U.S. Olympic Family with children and families around the country.”
Official Team USA domestic partners include 24 Hour Fitness, Anheuser-Busch (Budweiser) AT&T, BMW America, BP, Chobani, Citi, Deloitte, The Hartford, Hilton, Kelloggs, Liberty Mutual, Nike, Oakley, Smucker's, AmeriTrade and United.
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