The new rightsholder for all Olympics hospitality and ticket-plus travel packages – On Location Experiences – has hired one of the most experienced industry leaders in European sports hospitality to lead their Paris 2024 revenue-side operations with Michael Tonge being announced this past weekend as OLE’s Senior Vice-President Global Hospitality Sales.
On Location, the Endeavor-owned company that is the IOC's exclusive hospitality programmes provider, has recruited the French Tennis Federation’s Michael Tonge as its senior vice-president of global hospitality sales. #Paris2024 @onlocationexp https://t.co/6emY1h67DY<; a>;>— SportBusiness (@SportBusiness) January 28, 2022
In a message to his LinkedIn followers that was posted on Saturday, Tonge paid tribute to the French Tennis Federation where he has worked since April 2016.
‘After 2128 days at the French Tennis Federation, it is time for me to say "au revoir" to great friends, talented colleagues and to an amazing tournament. In a few days, I will be starting an incredible adventure as SVP Global Sales at On Location, the exclusive and official hospitality provider for the Olympics and Paralympics in Paris 2024, Milan-Cortina 2026 and Los Angeles 2028!! Thank you to everyone at Roland-Garros for welcoming "Le Brit"….and here’s to my new family at On Location and to the incredible journey ahead of us.’
As he referenced in his farewell tribute, Tonge had the unusual distinction of being a Briton who, as director of partnerships, hospitality and ticketing, led the commercial side of one of the most quintessentially French sports properties.
But Tonge has moved comfortably within both French and European sports circles since 1995 – also working for Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile and Union des Associations Européennes de Football as well as telecom companies Cable & Wireless, Hutchison and Orange.
OLE’s ground-breaking Olympic appointment followed an RFI and RFP process that lasted more than 12 months, and was finally announced in June 2021.
‘We have been looking to help implement turnkey solutions with the future Games so that the operations of delivering the Games can be simplified to reduce the complexity, as well as drive efficiencies and optimize revenue streams, either existing or new,’ Alexis Gros-Piron, IOC head of hospitality, ticketing and spectator experience has said.
‘Hospitality really hits on all three of those, as the former decentralized model was in many ways less effective,’ added Gros-Piron.
The financial terms of OLE’s contract have not been revealed but the respected industry media Sports Business Journal reported that parent company Endeavor had notified regulators of a USD1.3 billion guarantee relating to the contract. The figure received by the IOC and three participating Games’ organising committees is expected to rise over the term of the agreement if certain revenue targets are met.
OLE’s appointment sees, for the first time, the International Olympic Committee inserting itself into a business model which had previously been a series of bilateral appointments between the respective Local Organising Committee and hospitality and travel companies recommended to the LOC by the National Olympic Committees.
The extent to which Beijing is providing an extraordinary level of international support to ensure Winter Games access, while locking down the Games from any chance of coronavirus risk, was underlined thanks to a Facebook post on Sunday from respected sports journalist Jeremy Walker, who edits the Olympic Council of Asia’s Sporting Asia magazine. The Macau-based Jeremy Walker was the only passenger on the specially chartered Air China Airbus A330 flight for Olympic invitees wanting to travel from Hong Kong to Beijing. ‘I left my room in Macau at 9am and checked in to the hotel at 6.30pm. Beijing allowed you to go direct to the hotel and wait in your room until the test result arrived [whereas] Tokyo made you stay at the airport for the result.’