Case Study: SOS Global at London 2012

SOS Global Express has worked at every Olympic Games since 1988, and London 2012 was no exception. The logistics company not only worked with several major broadcasting entities at the crown jewel event, but it also worked with some leading vendors, helping them move kit into the UK and then back to the US after both the Olympics and the Paralympics were over.

“A substantial amount of gear was moved into the UK for the Games and during the Games,” says Joseph Lyons, VP of global sales and marketing at SOS Global, taking up the story. “And when the Games were over we had to charter an aircraft from the UK to the US for the US Open tennis for a bunch of our clients. We were able to get gear out of the International Broadcast Centre at London 2012 into New York in a three day period that was a feat unto itself. That was a very long three or four long days for a few people!”

All in all, London 2012 was a very great experience for SOS Global. “It was an extremely successful event for us,” says Lyons. “It was a good experience for us but also a good experience with our clients. We had around 10 people in-country working for about 12 days and it all went very well.”

Lyons visited London prior to the Olympics for the Queen’s Golden Jubilee celebrations and found his first impressions a bit wanting. “While I was in London during the Jubilee, I was a bit worried about how things would go during the Olympics, I have to be honest,” he says. “Transportation went down at one stage which sent everything into a panic and security was problematic. Yet when I was there for the London 2012 Games, everything went off wonderfully. They [London] seemed to handle everything during the Games – including on the Underground and at Heathrow - much better than they do in normal life in London!”

SOS is already looking ahead to the next Summer Games in Rio, Brazil in 2016, but before that is sure to be involved in freighting equipment to Sochi, Russia for broadcasters during the 2014 Winter Olympics. “SOS Global’s vice president Steve O’Connell is heading up the drive for new business in Sochi,” explains Lyons. “We already have clients asking us what we can and can’t do for Sochi and we are currently looking at everything.”

According to Lyons, how broadcasters are going to get mobile units over to Russia is one of the things that seems to be undecided the moment and also how they going to get kit into the country. “The Sochi 2014 organisers are having test events over the next few months so I am sure we will have a better picture of how the land lies by February 2013,” he adds.

Whatever the logistical conundrums end up being faced in Sochi and Rio however, one thing is for certain - with SOS Global’s wealth of Olympic Games expertise behind them, the specialist movers of kit and equipment are sure to rise to the challenge once again.

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