Touchdown in Sochi the Russian Olympic experience begins
My trip to Sochi is the culmination of the last three and a half years spent working on media rights deals for the Games.
I have had the privilege of being involved with the commercial rights of some great sporting events over the years and the best part has always been working at the event itself, seeing how everything in the contracts operates on the ground. My job here is to work on last minute contractual matters and advise on any issues that arise in connection with a set of broadcasters. Over the next three weeks I hope to give you a sense of what it is like being at the Games and working at a big sports event. I'll begin with the day I arrived, which was fairly typical of a working day at an event: exhausting but a lot of fun.
Sochi is a tricky place to get to. Ordinarily, you have to fly via the likes of Moscow and Istanbul, which can make it a long journey. Luckily, for the Games, there are daily charter flights from Zurich, so I found myself in the departure lounge at Zurich airport waiting to board flight WK2014(!) with colleagues, administrators, officials and many athletes. I spotted Olympians from Canada, France, Norway, Switzerland, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Italy (sporting a stylish Emporio Armani kit) and Sweden (in a less glamorous but, some might say, equally stylish H&M kit). There was a buzz of excitement as everyone boarded and the cheery Swiss pilot took every opportunity during the flight to remind his passengers he was taking us to the Games.
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Raj Koria is an experienced and charismatic international sports business lawyer and adviser. Raj's experience includes media and television rights, sponsorship sales and servicing, product merchandising and retail distribution and on-site marketing operations. He is London based but services an international client base at Halebury, the alternative law firm.