By Scott Malone
Reuters — General ElGeneral Electric Co. sold about US$100 million of lights, power supplies and medical devices for the London Olympic Games, less than for Beijing’s massive build-out but still enough to justify the largest U.S. conglomerate’s sponsorship, officials said on Monday.ectric Co. sold about US$100 million of lights, power supplies and medical devices for the London Olympic Games, less than for Beijing’s massive build-out but still enough to justify the largest U.S. conglomerate’s sponsorship, officials said on Monday. Since signing on as a top-level Olympic sponsor in 2005, GE has generated about US$1 billion in revenue from selling equipment for the stadiums and athlete villages in Torino, Beijing and Vancouver — with about half that amount coming from China’s 2008 games. “At the time when Beijing went for the Olympics, they invested a lot. There was just a lot more to be built and developed,” said Beth Comstock, GE’s chief marketing officer. “London has a much more measured approach in terms of infrastructure, but we certainly are happy that we participated.” The backers of the London games spent about US$14 billion in building new Olympic venues and overhauling existing sites, well less than the estimated US$40 billion that China spent. The Fairfield, Connecticut-based company declined to say how much it paid for its Olympic sponsorship — Olympic contracts prohibit sponsors from disclosing the amount — but said the revenue generated from Olympic projects has justified its sponsorship. “It has been a good return for us,” said Comstock. “It has been easily justifiable, a no-brainer in terms of the return.” GE’s sponsorship contract runs through 2020. While the world’s largest maker of electric turbines and jet engines no longer owns a majority stake in U.S. Olympic broadcaster NBC Universal — now majority owned by Comcast Corp — it is still finding that the sponsorship has paid off, Comstock said. That is largely because the Olympics gives it a chance to show off its ability to sell into large-scale projects. GE has made a practice of pitching its wares directly to governments in emerging markets, from Saudi Arabia to China, for large-scale infrastructure projects like power plants and water purification systems, Comstock said. The 11 top-level Olympic sponsors also include McDonald’s Corp., Dow Chemical Co. and Visa Inc.