This Olympics update is dominated by construction news. The 2012 London Olympics is starting to take shape in east London, with plans unveiled for the Olympic Stadium, the Olympic Village and world-class transport infrastructure that will bring benefits to London long after the games.
Employment features in connection with our construction theme. The Olympic Development Authority (ODA) has signed an agreement with construction trade unions promoting the use of high employment standards.
The other main stream of stories is in relation to sponsorship. Of particular note is the creation of a new sponsorship category - clothing and home ware - and the possibility that the ODA may create a further category to allow sponsorship by alcohol and beverage companies. The Olympic organisers are also keen to promote their "green" image to keep abreast of current public issues.
Construction: the Olympic Stadium
The ODA and architects HOK Sport unveiled designs for the Olympic Stadium on 7 November. The stadium design has met with mixed reaction from the architectural community, with Will Alsop commenting that the design is not iconic enough. Graham Morrison and Bob Allies of HOK Sport have defended their design on the basis that it will transform the surrounding area. The construction of the stadium will now be managed by the Team McAlpine consortium, which includes of Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd, HOK Sport Ltd, Buro Happold Ltd and HED.
For more on the stadium design, take a look at 'New era of stadium design begins with Olympic Stadium' (London 2012), 'London unveils 2012 stadium plan' (BBC) and the debate between Will Alsop, Graham Morrison and Bob Allies.
Construction: building contractors not bidding on Olympic projects
A thriving construction industry has shunned the call for bids for Olympic projects - put off by recent Wembley and Cardiff examples, which were built at well over budget at the contractors' expense:
'SKM drop out of Olympic race' (Construct 2012)
The projects carry too much risk with too little profit, and will not lead to lucrative on-going relationships which contractors can pick up elsewhere in the market. The net effect is to drive up the prices of the contracts as the contractors call the shots, especially as stringent employment terms leave the ODA with little room to negotiate.
This is in stark contrast with the ODA's version of events, as shown in London 2012's coverage of the same story.
Construction: round up of other stories
As mentioned above there has been a flurry of construction stories regarding the Olympics in the last few months. Particular stories of note from London 2012 are:
Employment: ODA promotes high standards
The ODA has agreed to work in partnership with trade unions representing construction workers to promote high employment standards. It has signed a "Memorandum of Agreement" with Unite, GMB and the Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians. This is a legally binding document including a number of important principles and commitments that the ODA should follow when dealing with trade unions.
London 2012, 'Partnership agreed on employment standards', and Personnel Today provide more information.
Sponsorship: new sponsorship category - clothing and home ware
"Clothing and home ware" has been added as a new Tier One category available to potential sponsors. The prospective sponsor will obtain marketing rights. It is anticipated that it will also provide Team GB and Paralympics GB with suits and uniforms for the opening and closing ceremonies of Vancouver 2010 and London 2012, plus soft furnishings for the Olympic Village in 2012.
Sponsorship: Guinness deal?
The London 2012 organisers are said to be in early stage talks with alcohol drinks manufacturer, Diageo, about a potential £85 million sponsorship deal. Diageo would be likely to secure exclusive rights to the bars of the Olympic Park and other official 2012 venues. In 2005 Diageo was ordered to remove one of its television adverts because it breached Advertising Standards Authority rules by appealing to under 18s. But, the Olympic organisers hope that engaging it as a sponsor could encourage more responsible drinking.
Sponsorship: round up of other stories
Environment: further details of the world's first carbon measured major sporting event
London 2012 is aiming to calculate the carbon footprint left by the Games, including everything from the heated swimming pool to the buzzer sounding in fencing matches. It has been criticised for aiming only to measure, rather than attempt to off-set, with the exception of the signature Olympics flame.