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Without actual games to discuss, sports media has been filing Olympic time slots ripping the Rio game and their organizers for every imaginable future malady. As fun as it would be to pile on, a much more intriguing battle is happening in the social ethosphere surrounding these games and they are bringing attention from different kinds of security, contractors and police…


The IOC is officially trying to stop their hashtags #Rio2016 and #TeamUSA from being used by companies not associated to the games. Claiming trademark infringement on iltellectual property, the “bullies” are aggressively sending notices and threats to brands and athletes who attempt to use these descriptors without consent.


Photo courtesy of Google.com

So now the question arises, what the heck is going to happen now and how can this possibly be controlled. From my one semester of sport law I can kind of understand where the IOC is coming from trying to protect their already very high paying sponsors however from a social media standpoint it seems almost impossible and indeed improbable to ban companies from a couple hashtags.


Better yet, what is Twitter going to do? Hashtags are basically Twitter’s water. The point is to join the conversation and connect with other people tweeting about the same topic. It is not a part of what they do, it is the very essence of their existence. The site has recently been trying to make major strides in the sport industry with their recent streaming deals however, imagine the backlash in interactivity if hashtags begin to be restricted. Will Twitter go the way of Facebook and police itself this severely. Watch out below…


The IOC has already set rules for athletes that they are absolutely not allowed to market the brands not associated with the games; even those that sponsor them on their personal networks during their time at the Olympics. This is clearly a problem for many of these folks when sponsorships are their main source of income.


The IOC may have to rethink a lot of their clauses as each Olympic games becomes more and more tech-savvy. The struggles to control social media during the games are only going to become more relevant as the years go by. Good luck, IOC.

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