Sports Biz with Darren Rovell

An Olympic Marketing Snafu By Olympia

Marketing an ice machine isn’t exactly the same as marketing a fast food company, but when the folks at Resurfice landed the rights to for its electric ice resurfacing machine to be the official resurfacer of the Vancouver games, they were probably pretty psyched.

But what ensued yesterday at the Richmond Oval, in between heats for the men’s 500m speedskating event, turned into a marketing nightmare.

You see, the machine failed. Check that. Machines. And it wasn’t the same problem. One was the drive and one was the conveyer belt.

Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games - See Complete Coverage

It resulted in an hour delay, which almost threatened to postpone the event for another day. Not only that, after they managed to get things working again, they called for a machine from Calgary to come in. The machine? It’s competitor and the market leader, Zamboni, which, by the way, lost out on the bid to become the official ice resurfacing machine – status that it had for the last two Winter games.

These machines typically cost tens of thousands of dollars, so there are fewer future customers than say a fast food company that has a food poisoning problem. It's actually worse from a crisis standpoint. One, Olympia can't blame this on a parts manufacturer like a fast food brand can blame it on a certain area where beef was contiminated. Two, someone who is considering buying an ice machine for thousands of dollars is less forgiving than someone who comes back to buy a 99 cent burger.

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