In a meeting with Locog on Tuesday (14 February) Fish Island was told its plans fell foul of the IOC’s clean venue policy which states that no advertising can be displayed in Olympic venues or in locations which can be seen when the Games are televised.
Branding from Olympic sponsors would have appeared on the living room venue, which would sit 100m from the Olympic Stadium. Plans included a sofa the height of a four-story building and a 30m by 17m TV screen.
Lance Forman, owner of Fish Island, told Event that without featuring sponsor branding, the venue would not have the funding to create the living room. "We’re still a small family business that doesn’t have that sort of funding. The idea was to get Olympic sponsor brands involved. You could have a huge Coca Cola can on the table and a fireplace in the wall powered by EDF."
Forman said the venue had been planned since May 2011 but Locog and the IOC only raised concerns last November.
"Locog has been intimately involved in discussions with us and no one mentioned the clean venue policy," he said. "We had a look at it and clearly there was a problem. I wrote to the IOC and asked if the venue could be exempted. Tuesday’s meeting with Locog was friendly - they said it was a brilliant project but that it contravened the rules and they couldn’t do anything about that."
Fish Island had planned to donate excess revenue from the living room to International Inspiration, an IOC programme which uses sport to promote positive values in developing nations.
Forman told Event: "It’s frustrating and disappointing because we’ve spent a lot of time and money on a project that would have been good for everyone. We’re not trying to ambush market here. If Locog had said something about this earlier then we would have come up with a completely different design."
The venue is now looking into other possibilities for the space during the Olympics. "We’re talking to a few countries about making it an Olympic house and speaking to an American beach club operator about dumping a load of sand and palm trees there. We’d love to go with another eye-catching design but we have to be driven by demand," said Forman.
He added that he was not concerned in the long term: "To some extent we’ve wasted six months on something that Locog should have told us was never going to happen, but we’ve always been running this alongside other projects. At the end of the day, it is the plum site for the Olympics and something great will happen on it."
To leave a comment register and let us know your thoughts.
For more in-depth industry features, showcases and Olympic news don't miss the next issue of Event magazine by subscribing here.Tweet