Diageo to sponsor Channel 4 films, Olympics bid falters

Guinness and Baileys are set to sponsor Channel 4’s film network, but parent firm Diageo may miss out on a major deal for the London 2012 Olympics.

Guinness and Baileys ads will run across Channel 4 films for 12 months starting mid-July, in a deal worth close to £5m, Diageo Great Britain announced. It is claimed the agreement is Channel 4’s biggest ever sponsorship deal.

The agreement comes less than a week after Diageo was reportedly in talks with organisers of the 2012 London Olympics over a possible link-up worth £60m.

Diageo and Olympics organising body Locog refused to confirm or deny the reports to OLN, but it is believed several barriers lie in the drinks giant’s path to becoming a “top-tier” sponsor of the games.

OLN understands from a separate source that some events would not be deemed appropriate for sponsorship by an alcoholic drinks group. One is gymnastics, in which participants are generally much younger.

Allowing Diageo to become a top-tier sponsor would also set a new precedent in modern Olympics history.

Sponsorship guidelines set down by drinks industry self-regulatory body the Portman Group say “under-18s should not comprise more than a quarter of the participating audience”.

Drinks firms may be considered for a group of lower profile 2012 sponsors, set to be decided next year.

A Locog spokesperson told OLN: “Currently we don’t have a drinks category in our sponsorship plan. We are reviewing this strategy but no decision has been made.”