In the world of fit and muscular bodies, there is no name that shines brighter than Olympia. Created nearly 60 years ago by bodybuilding pioneer Joe Weider, the Olympia logo has become the ultimate symbol of achievement, earning it the distinction of being the most prestigious event brand in its category. As companies scramble to secure their spot at Olympia Expo, the brand as a whole thrives, in part because there is no more coveted title or stage.
Courtesy of mrolympiallc
How popular is the Olympia? Popular enough to completely sell out their Saturday night main events during the two pandemic years of 2020 and 2021. Powerful enough to collect over $1.6 million in prize money, more than double the fitness industry's next biggest event. And ambitious enough to deliver a stage production that rivals a rock concert while giving way to the sport's largest pay-per-view audience. A year ago, the Olympic weekend set records for overall sponsorship, but that doesn't even begin to tell the whole story.
In 2018, Dan Solomon, a longtime media and production industry insider, was hired to take the reins of Olympia, a move that signaled a shift in leadership of the brand. "For many years the Olympia was simply viewed as a world championship event," Solomon explains. “When I took the job, my goal was to make the Olympia a year-round, multi-faceted brand, not just a weekend event. The results so far are extremely positive.”
With the Olympic weekend continuing to grow in every way imaginable, the 365 day strategy was nothing short of remarkable. In 2019 the Olympia clothing line was launched and it wasn't long before Olympia branded merchandise became the hottest products on the market, a sign of how strong the brand has become globally. And that was just the beginning. The Olympic licensing program continues to gain momentum around the world as equipment contracts and other commercial initiatives are secured. The Amateur Olympics program has grown into the largest amateur events franchise in the world, with more than 5,000 athletes competing in NPC-sanctioned events in 12 countries, with more planned in the coming years.
Courtesy of Olympia
While the Olympia has the widest social media reach of any fitness event in the world, it enjoys a strong partnership with the NPC and the IFBB Professional League, the world's leading competitive body organizations. To put it simply, all roads lead to the Olympia, a reality cemented by an athlete qualification system that positions the event as the "Superbowl" of bodybuilding, fitness and physique competitions.
Jim Manion, the man who sits at the helm of both competitive organizations, has watched closely as Olympia raises the bar. "The Olympia is a unique experience," explains Manion. “There's a sense of history, prestige and a level of production that makes it special. Fans dream of being there and athletes dream of being on that stage. It's the holy grail of bodybuilding, it's the mountain top.”
In 2020, the Olympia was acquired by Jake Wood, one of the industry's most passionate supporters. Since the acquisition, the event has benefited from his vision and commitment to delivering greater value in multiple areas, highlighted by increases in production budgets and prize money. While Solomon is tasked with overseeing all phases of Olympia, the team is joined by production guru Tamer El-Guindy, VP Angelica Nebbia and a high-performing production team.
The show's growth hasn't gone unnoticed by top brands and celebrities as more people queue up to take advantage of the fitness industry's most celebrated tradition. This year's event, scheduled for December, brings the Olympia to the heart of the Las Vegas Strip at Planet Hollywood Resort, home to the Zappos Theater, one of Vegas' premier entertainment venues. The Olympia World Fitness Expo is held up the street at the Venetian Convention Center (formerly known as the Sands Convention Center). An event that began in an auditorium in 1965 is now performed in the world's top venues and shows no signs of slowing down.
Courtesy of Olympia
As the crowds have increased, so has the number of A-list celebrities spotted at the Olympia in recent years, a list that includes Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Shaquille O'Neal, Dave Bautista, Marcus Allen and more from the Olympia encompasses the world of music, sports and entertainment.
Sponsorship and exhibitor opportunities are now available for this year's event. VIP packages are already sold out, but regular tickets are available now.
Solomon adds, “There is nothing more gratifying than meeting fans who are attending the Olympia for the first time. Seeing their raw emotions and hearing their inspiring and motivating stories is just amazing. This December we're taking things to a whole new level.”
Visit www.MrOlympia.com for full details including tickets and sponsorship opportunities. But don't hesitate, the good spots sell out quickly and the prime exhibitor locations won't last long.