BT today announced it smashed several records as it helped to ensure the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games were the most connected Games ever. The company also set out how it has brought the excitement of the Games to a wider audience by hosting numerous free events that attracted millions of fans.
These activities have been noted by politicians and business leaders who named BT as the company that has provided the greatest corporate contribution to the success of the Games (independent research by TLG/Populus) and second in terms of greatest positive change to reputation as a result of its sponsorship.
BT, as official communications services partner of London 2012, played a vital role by delivering a flawless infrastructure with a capacity that dwarfed those of previous Games. Years of planning went into ensuring the Games ran smoothly with BT staff putting in more than a million man hours of work.
The role of communications services partner is a new one for the Games, reflecting the breadth of services that BT provided. The company designed and delivered a single, integrated communications network (a first for a Summer Games) spanning 94 locations with a critical Games-time service availability of 99.999%. To put this in context, three suppliers were used in Beijing to deliver a network with a far smaller capacity.
Key statistics include:
The official London 2012 website, which BT hosted, had more than 450 million visits – four times as many as the Beijing Games website in 2008.
There were more tweets on one day than during the whole of the Beijing Games.
There were record levels of internet traffic on BT’s UK retail broadband network. Traffic reached an all-time high on BT’s UK retail broadband network during the Olympics on Sunday 29th July (when the UK woke up to the Games online and Team GB won the first of its 65 medals). During the Paralympics, the peak in internet traffic on BT’s UK network was on Sunday 2nd September.
During the Olympic Games, daily video traffic increased on average by 19 per cent compared to normal, with Bradley Wiggins winning gold in the cycling time trial being the peak.
BT provided services such as internet, email, fixed-line telephony and mobile services to LOCOG and the 27,500 accredited media.
A BT fibre-based network delivered TV coverage of the Games from the majority of venues to the International Broadcast Centre for transmission across the world.
BT installed an extensive wi-fi infrastructure on the Olympic Park, including the largest, high-density public wi-fi installation in the world. During the Paralympics, BT saw a peak of one million users on its UK wi-fi network for the first time ever.
By working with mobile operators, BT ensured there was greater mobile coverage and capacity than at any other Games in history.
BT provided the Athletes Village with the most advanced fibre broadband in the UK allowing the athletes to get online at ultra-fast speeds for free.
As well as underpinning the delivery of the Games, BT has been one of the most active sponsors running numerous cultural programmes, supporting individual athletes and bringing the excitement of the Games to millions of fans across the UK.
More than five million people watched the Games at BT-sponsored Live Sites across the UK and more than one million fans attended BT London Live at Hyde Park, Victoria Park and Trafalgar Square. More than 70,000 fans watched Mo Farah’s 5,000 metre win in Hyde Park, for example, while Team GB and ParalympicsGB medal winners appeared at the venues to share their success with enthusiastic audiences.
As well as enabling fans to see the Games and medal winners in a shared environment, BT put on dozens of free musical performances during the Games and major acts such as Blur, the Specials and Snow Patrol thrilled huge crowds in Hyde Park at the opening and closing nights of the Olympic Games.
BT also played a major role in creating the unique atmosphere in the lead-up to the Games by sponsoring BT River of Music. This major cultural event was staged at six iconic venues along the Thames and featured performers from 205 nations. 163,000 people attended the event for free. BT River of Music was one of the highlights of the London 2012 Festival, the biggest ever arts event in the UK.
BT has been a long-term supporter of both the Olympics and Paralympics. The company backed London’s initial bid in 2004 while its support for the British Paralympic Association (BPA) dates back to 1989 when BT became the BPA’s first commercial partner. BT is the headline sponsor of the annual BT Paralympic World Cup and has pledged significant support for the BPA through to the Rio Games in 2016. Research by Nielsen, the official research provider of London 2012, showed that 88 per cent of people believe that Olympics sponsors should also support the Paralympics.
As well as providing the Games with technical expertise and cultural activity, BT has also supported numerous athletes over the years. These include Jonnie Peacock, Hannah Cockcroft, Oscar Pistorius and the Brownlee brothers to mention just a few. This support has been warmly welcomed by the athletes, many of whom are only just becoming household names and so might have struggled without the financial support provided by BT.
Ian Livingston, Chief Executive, BT Group plc, said: “We are incredibly proud to have been at the heart of the Games and to have delivered the essential communications services and infrastructure that supported such a successful Olympics and Paralympics. BT has supported the Games from the time of the bid, when few thought London would be chosen, and the dedication of our people has contributed hugely to the best and most connected Games ever.”
Tim Hollingsworth, Chief Executive of the British Paralympic Association, said: “We could not have got to where we are now without the support of commercial partners like BT. They have been with us on the journey from the very beginning – becoming the BPA’s first commercial partner after it formed in 1989 – and I am delighted that they are already committed to the next four years through to Rio 2016.”
Yesterday, BT was one of the official partners of the Our Greatest Team Parade, which saw around one million people celebrate Team GB and Paralympics GB’s success. At 20.12, a pyrotechnic and light show from the top of BT Tower brought the day of celebration to a colourful finale.
In November 2012, BT will be part of the IOC debriefing in Rio as preparations continue for the 2016 Games. BT has already begun to pass on its experience and expertise as part of the technology transfer to the Organising Committee and technology partners involved in rio2016.