Prepare Now to Capitalize on 2020 Olympics

Prepare your staff and shop for new customers who are eager to try archery after watching the Olympics.
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Author: Cassie Gasaway

Did you know the 2020 Olympic Games are in Tokyo from July 24 to Aug. 9? Soon after, Tokyo hosts the 2020 Paralympics from Aug. 25 to Sept. 6.

That means you have less than six months to leverage archery’s spotlight at the 2020 Games. We encourage you to take advantage of the Olympics’ unique opportunities to build your business and increase your customer base. Here’s why these events often ignite huge interest in archery:

1. The Olympic Games feature the world’s foremost sports competitions. Millions of spectators around the globe will watch nearly 11,000 athletes from over 200 nations competing in 33 sports with 42 disciplines and 339 events. The games give archery premium coverage in mainstream media.

2. NBC reported that archery was one of the Olympics’ most-watched sports at the 2012 and 2016 games. Archery’s head-to-head format captivates viewers, and most matches last about 13 minutes, an ideal length for broadcasts. Plus, it’s exciting, easy to understand, and ends with clear winners.

3. The Summer Games feature 64 men and 64 women competing for five gold medals awarded through individual and team events. Those events include the debut of a mixed team competition featuring each country’s top male and female archers.

To cash in on the excitement, start planning now. We spoke with Chris Wells, communications manager for the World Archery Federation; and Sarah Boyd, media and communications specialist for USA Archery, to learn how ATA members can capitalize on the 2020 Olympics.

Please note, however, that your marketing must comply with the Olympics’ copyright and trademark rules, which we outline at the bottom of this article.


Build Awareness

Boyd encourages ATA members to publicize their business within their communities before the games so potential customers know archery opportunities abound nearby.

“Make sure when people see archery on television, they know where to go to be part of the excitement and take advantage of the buzz,” Boyd said. “[You must] make a connection between the Olympics and Paralympics, and your offerings.”

Inform your community, especially parents, about archery’s benefits and next-step opportunities. Explain that archery is fun, safe, exciting and rewarding. Make sure they know where you’re located, how to reach you, and how you can introduce them to archery.

Wells thinks the games will likely divide archery into two markets, and suggests creating marketing plans that recruit …

    — archers who follow the competition, look up to Olympians, and aspire to compete in future Olympics.

    — viewers who watch the Olympics and feel inspired to try archery.

Follow the Olympic athletes on their journey by sharing posts about them on your store's/company's social media. Photo Credit: USA Archery

Share and Follow the Contenders

Consider sharing the archers’ bios, information about the Olympics, NBC’s broadcast schedule, and other relevant news on your website and social-media platforms to generate interest.

Wells said many Olympians have incredible stories that can be shared before the games. Follow these athletes and share their accomplishments with your community so they feel invested in each archer’s success. Connect Olympic archery to your shop and programs to help potential customers connect the dots.

Even if your business is bowhunting-focused, the Olympics generate interest that often inspires beginners to explore other disciplines like 3D archery, bowfishing and target archery.

Don’t forget to use hashtags, and tag your country’s Olympians in your posts to engage your social-media audience. A ThriveHive article also recommends interacting with followers by suggesting they predict the winners or share who they’re supporting. Being active on social media shows customers your business is modern, and that you care about worldwide events and elite archers.


Stock Your Shelves

Wells suggests stocking and displaying Olympic gear six months before the Games to show customers that Olympians shoot equipment that’s available nearby. That also inspires customers to watch which products the pros use.

Olympians, of course, use only use recurve bows, but Paralympic archers use recurves and compounds. Most beginners won’t associate compounds with Olympic recurve bows, so stock your inventory accordingly.

If you only stock compound bows, consider adding recurves. Otherwise, you’ll struggle convincing beginners that “they’re just like Brady Ellison.” Stock several recurve options, from high-end to entry-level bows, because entry-level gear is more affordable and user-friendly.

It’s seldom enough to stock Olympic-style recurves and accessories, and wait for customers to discover them. Promote your inventory and show customers how it connects to the Olympics. Try this, for example: “Did you see Ellison use the [product name] today? Stop by [shop name] to try it yourself!”


Organize Events

Host Olympic-based events during telecasts to create awareness and excitement. Plan viewer or fan-favorite parties that include food, posters of Olympians, and other decorations. Introduction-to-archery events might also draw crowds before or after the Olympics begin. Promote your club or team, too. Ask participants if they want to be the next great archer, or encourage newcomers to start their quest to become elite archers.

You could also host pre-Olympics competitions that mirror the pending games. That helps participants see how their scores compare to those posted by Olympians. And if you work with elite shooters or top-shelf local archers, ask them to sign photos or host a “training day” so customers understand how elite archers prepare for the Olympics.

It's a good idea to start new programs now so that you can advertise them during the Olympics when people are more likely to be searching. Photo Credit: High Altitude Archery

Start a Program (or Two)

If you don’t have a club or you don’t run programs, now is a great time to start. Boyd said educational opportunities help customers develop archery’s vital skills, and make them feel comfortable trying something new.

Boyd said USA Archery has certification programs for coaching and teaching the sport safely. Instructor certification also boosts your marketing value, teaches your staff valuable skills and knowledge, and connects your store to the Explore Archery and Junior Olympic Archery Development programs for engaging newcomers.

To start, read the ATA article “How to Offer Archery Programs and Classes in 4 Simple Steps.” The piece helps you get certified, teach beginner classes, and offer advanced programs with insights from partners and organizations.

Above are examples of how to (and how not to) use Olympic references and images in your advertising. Photo Credit: ATA

Follow the Rules

Meanwhile, learn and follow marketing rules created by the National Olympic Committee, International Olympic Committee, and United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee. Those guidelines include Rule 40, Rule 50, and brand-usage requirements. Make your marketing creative, but follow these Olympic rules:


Brand Guidelines

No USOPC trademarked words, logos, marks and phrases can be used in advertisements. That includes anything on social media, or in email marketing or philanthropic endeavors. Trademarked items include Olympic logos and Team USA logos, and terms like “Olympic,” “Olympian,” “Team USA,” “Road to Tokyo,” and “Tokyo 2020.”

What does that mean for ATA members? You must word your blogs, articles, social-media posts, and other content to avoid trademarked words and phrases; as well as logos and other trademarked graphics. Click here for the USOPC’s brand guidelines to learn what’s acceptable.

Boyd said retailers can capitalize on the games while complying with their rules. She said these sample pitches use acceptable language:

— “Did you see archery on the big stage in Tokyo, and want to try it? Visit our shop to get started today!”

— “Join us at [retail shop name] to watch USA archers aim for gold in Tokyo this Saturday!”


Rule 40

This rule restricts athletes’ ability to promote their sponsors while receiving widespread attention. Boyd said the rules were relaxed for 2020 to let athletes recognize personal sponsors, but include an application process. If you’ve partnered with an athlete and plan to use their image in generic advertising during the games, contact the archer ASAP to discuss your options.

During the games, advertisers can only use generic marketing. No direct ties with the games are allowed. Click here to view IOC Rule 40.

What does that mean for ATA members? Unless approved, companies can’t market their products in connection with Olympic athletes before or after the games. Companies also can’t use an athlete’s likeness or Olympic standing to promote products during the games. They also cannot imply a relationship between their brand, product or service with Team USA or the games.


Rule 50

This rule states that “no form of advertising or other publicity shall be allowed in and above the stadia, venues and competition areas” except the Olympic brand. It also prohibits any “demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda” in Olympic venues.

Wells said these restrictions ensure the games focus on the athletes and competition. Bows and arrows are exempt from the rule, which restricts the type, size and amount of logos on equipment used at the games. This equipment was available to consumers the previous six months, so branding on it can’t be altered from its original form.

What does that mean for ATA members? Manufacturers can’t add extra or different logos to equipment used in Tokyo. Team USA members can use the Tokyo 2020 logo on their gear at the Olympics, but companies cannot.

Learn more about Rule 50 in Wells’ article “Beginners’ Guide to Rule 50 for Archery at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.”

Read and understand the rules to avoid violations, which could trigger legal action. Click here to read a related USOPC guide.

To avoid accidental violations, Wells advises ATA members to share news from World Archery and other agencies during the games.


Get Help

If you need help creating a marketing plan or starting a program, contact Nicole Nash, ATA’s manager of range and retail programs, at

World Archery sponsors who have questions about IOC rules can contact Thomas Aubert ( for advice.

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