Stephen Colbert Sponsors for America

By Rob Campbell Nov 3, 2009

Stephen Colbert, anchor of Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report, is sponsoring the U.S. Speedskating team.

Colbert stepped in to sponsor the U.S. team after current sponsor Dutch bank DSB declared bankruptcy. The sponsorship is in the name of the show’s fans, dubbed the “Colbert Nation.”

Colbert signed a sponsorship deal with Bob Crowley, Executive Director of U.S. Speedskating on camera during an interview with Olympic speedskating great Dan Jansen on November 2.

Although not detailed on the show, the sponsorship agreement is not your average deal.

According to a story from the BBC, “The scheme sees no money paid directly from the show to the team. Instead, fans can donate online.”

The unconventional, no-minimum guaranteed relationship was born out of necessity when the sudden bankruptcy of DSB Bank left the American team with little time to court new sponsors prior to the Vancouver Winter Games.

I give much deserved credit to U.S. Speedskating for thinking unconventionally and taking a definitive, though calculated risk.

Also, despite his trademark uber-patriot act, Colbert’s comments on the sponsorship embodied much of what sponsorship should be. He depicted himself stepping in to save a financially troubled team and at the same time promoted the sponsorship as increasing the U.S.’s chances of bringing home gold in Vancouver.

For your viewing pleasure I have included the video of Colbert’s announcement. It’s a little bit into the video (2:00), but Colbert is always worth watching.


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Vinu Joseph 11/4/2009 2:12 PM
I'll be interested to see how much money actually ends up being raised--and how much of that--quietly--comes from Viacom/Colbert to preserve the Nation's rep for standing behind its man.
Robert Campbell 11/4/2009 1:27 PM
As an added note on the origins of the deal, reports that, "Colbert's staff saw a story on the DSB sponsorship fallout and pounced. To them, the irony was too delicious: the tentacles of the financial crisis have stung the innocent athletes who aspire to Olympic glory."

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