News and events
3 February
"Is it funny or not? "
It became known, that the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) has announced about the change of the supplier of the outfit  to the Russian Olympic Team. It is ZA Sport now. The head of Bosco di Ciliegi Mikhail Kusnirovich, the supplier of the outfit for the latest eight Olympic cycles, made of this event to the special correspondent of Kommersant Andrei Kolesnikov.
AK: Are you satisfied with the outcome of the tender for the outfitting of the Russian Olympic Team?
MK: I am an experienced (laughs), so to say, entrepreneur and manager, and therefore I am always very careful with the statements. I know very well what tender is. First of all, it is clear and fairly transparent procedure. But I cannot characterize the procedure that preceded the announcement made by the President of the Russian Olympic Committee as "tender". This is not so, of course. But nonetheless…
AK: And what is it then?
MK: Yes ... I mean, there was no tender as such, there was a proposal to make an application and we did it. How was it discussed... Who were the participants... What criteria were taken into account – frankly speaking, it had been buried in a mystery. Anyway, for us.
We have made our application [it is usually not the case, but this time it is like this] a year ago, as we understand the technological cycle, we were offering to consider the subject since last spring so as not to stop the work with different teams, overseen by the Olympic Committee of Russia, or with the National Team or the Junior Team. It's a constant thing that requires the lead-up cycle. Therefore, we have proposed to clear up everything long before the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, at least to determine the terms. But unfortunately, we have received a request in late November. We have made an application within a week, as it was required, that is, before the 2nd of December.  We haven’t received any response to our offer, and it haven’t been discussed ... May be the letter is still closed up at somebody’s table since that time…. I don’t know….
AK: That is, you have offered to decide before the Olympic Games in Rio? And there wasn’t even this clear procedure?
MK: Yes. So…. I once again want to emphasize that this is a matter of procedure, and the procedure is not when the contractor receives any order with post-payment.  We can say that generally speaking it is the potential investor or sponsor who invests his knowledge, experience, skills and talent in the promotion of such great brand as Russia.
And all of these 16 certainly unforgettable years when we have had the honor to promote & develop this brand in every way – they are really in our soul  and to be honest in Bosco timeline.
Of course, these 16 years, they have taught us a lot, and, I think, this is a very positive experience.
AK: Decently, are you feeling sorry and frustrated?
MK: Why should we be frustrated? I feel sorry for each year gone by. We are adults already, and birthday is not just about gifts and balloons. It is about bygone time. Or past time. So we are sorry that some life stage was ended. Then we are certainly sorry that, our athletes will not get some qualified support fr om an important partner in charge of the outfit in in the nearest future. It is impossible even in theory. So, how will they go ..?
AK: Well, maybe not tomorrow, but the day after tomorrow…
MK: Well, yes maybe the day after tomorrow…. And I hope to God you’re right. But there is life between yesterday and tomorrow. And it is rather strange to erase it.
AK: We have talked to you about this at the opening of the rink at Red Square in December last year and you have doubted whether it is worth going for the next term. And there was the impression that the outcome will be the same as for all those who doubts whether to go for the next term or not.  Did you have doubts?
MK: I have my doubts ... Yes ... I had ...
I doubted about the fact weather we should go with the offer, which is completely inadequate in terms of the situation, returns & opportunities. That is, we should have gone audaciously & unprofessionally, and, of course, I was not sure, and I did not go. Why should we indulge to ROC irresponsible expectations?
AK: So there were expectations…. So what is the case then?
MK: Yes, there were expectations, of course. 650 million rubles a year. For sports. Not less! All ROC expectations without any obligation on the part of the ROC were completely unreasonable, and inadequate in terms of the applied international practice in comparable sports nations, and so on. That is, there were totally mad figures. Of course, the expectations were expressed. There were multimillion-dollar infusions fr om the sponsor which were not worked out by the Olympic Committee in any way, not in any way (laughs). I'm not even talking about the technical side of the issue. Our experience didn’t allow us to agree to the terms blindly, and probably played the role. Of course, in this case, we are not as naive & unprepared partner as, maybe, the other side would like. That is, it is serious business investment & effort, not charity. Therefore, professional relation is needed fr om all the participants. For instance, clean athletes, they are great, they are professionals, as they do their jobs. The one who gives outfit & money – he also should be a professional with experience, with knowledge, and finally with the financial capacity to make it. And in terms of the marketing programs of the Olympic Committee - well, of course, people must work there either. That is, they should not be just cash acceptors, to distribute tracksuits and the money received in some obscure way, but they should work with a partner.
As it was, for example, at the Olympics in Sochi wh ere the Games Organizing Committee, headed by Dmitry Chernyshenko, worked highly professionally with the marketing partners. We understood for what the money was spent. That's all ... And so it happens, by the way, in the International Olympic Committee, with which we are proud to cooperate.
AK: You have created dress outfit for the members of the IOC in Rio, moving away Ralph Lauren for the first time.
MK: We make outfit for the members of the International Olympic Committee, for the administration, and even for the Olympic museum in Lausanne. It was only dress outfit in Rio de Janeiro and starting with South Korea, it will be even casual sports outfit. We changed Nike. That is, in the previous Olympic cycle we changed Ralph Lauren, now we change Ralph Lauren and Nike.  We are honored of this duty (laughs).
And the fact is that this is not a coincidence that the applications, as far as I know unofficially, were not made by any big or even medium and small international brands. That is, no one has the desire to cooperate in the absence of ROC marketing program. We made applications because we have huge respect for our Olympic sports team, we love our country and want to be art & part in the pride. To be honest, we have 8 Olympic cycles behind like no one else. We are the oldest, you might say, sponsor (laughs), and the General Sponsor and Partner of the Russian Olympic Committee. Well, actually, we should talk about this in the past time now. But still it is great time.
AK: No one knows whether our national team will participate in the Korean Olympics. Maybe it's for the best?.. Your business has become too risky.
MK: You know, I am not the one who thinks "the worse, the better." I think “the better, the better”. And I do wish our athletes were happy, they were warm in South Korea, I would like them to be in South Korea, of course. And such a selfish attitude like "they do not have to go without our jackets" - it is not, the case, of course. And we, for example, continue to be willing to sponsor the Paralympic team. In any case, the Russian Paralympic Committee expressed their interest in us. We, in our turn, have confirmed that we will do it. I understand that there will be no marketing returns. And, by the way, it will be done regardless of whether our Paralympians will go or not. Although, I hope that they will go.
AK: Will it affect your business? You're the victim now.
MK: Well, I do not think, I'm the victim (laughs). You see, our business, well, first of all, it is...
AK: No, I mean BoscoSport, BoscoFresh ... Several stores were opened, so much effort ... Were you thanked at least?
MK: BoscoSport - is another matter, because actually BoscoSport with BoscoFresh takes their proud 5-7% of our total business. It had larger share during the Olympics, of course, but it's about this proportion. As for our actions, we are going to develop and concentrate on the development of BoscoFresh brand, and BoscoSport will be the collection within BoscoFresh brand. We have the ambition to enter the international market with our own products, including the ones made in Russia, in the Kaluga region, wh ere in fact, we have already started the construction of our own Bosco manufactory, wh ere all these articles will be produced. So, I think, the marketing phenomenon we have managed to create in totally bright years, is not accidental. It was 2001, and then there was also the situation, when in fact, no one but us took up such a responsible, difficult and, frankly speaking, costly work ...
As for the gratitude ... You know, there is huge gratitude. There are a lot of people who buy replica clothing of the National Team over the counter- this is the greatest gratitude. Of course, I do not expect gratitude from organization men, who often regard their duties as temporary, even though, frankly speaking, we have true and thoughtful teachers among the officials. There is Vitaly Smirnov, or Leonid Tyagachev. They have given us the start in this difficult life of outfitting, they certainly have the edge over the young.
AK: Are you comparing with the current organization men?
MK: (laughs) Please, note – it wasn’t my guess! Well, a new generation must come. Bold. Skillful. We wait for it.
AK: Do you know anything about Za Sport company"?
MK: Well, what do I know?.. You know, I tried to learn something through the modern communication means. And I found out, and it was a surprise for me (laughs), that the only announced sales point of the designer is located at VESNA in Novy Arbat, 19. That is in my store, in our store. And when I (laughs) inquired, I was told that yes, indeed, there are 3 articles and 7 items on sale now (laughs). And I hope that now customers will come there.  And to VESNA, of course. Also I learned, that the company was registered in December 2016... Za Sport was registered in December 2016 ... That's ... Well, and it was stated that it has become (laughs) the technical sponsor.
Well, frankly speaking, to become technical sponsor for 10 million euros per year with no return ... Even we did not make similar application... So ... We were the General Sponsor and the General Partner in due time. And we did not intend to change the status. We do not even claim to become technical sponsor.
AK:  That is, it means that everything they retail - it's in your store, in VESNA?
MK: Yes, in Novy Arbat, 19.
Well, is it funny or not?
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