Advertisers pay huge amounts of money to sponsor the Olympics - 11 currently are on board for about $100 million each for four years of global sponsorship of the sporting event. So you can just imagine their ire over the private deals that Olympics athletes have seemingly made to plug two brands of premium ($100+) headphones.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) eventually came down on Michael Phelps, after he kept showing up at different meets wearing Sol Republic headphones with a different colored band each time. This instant "change-up" band feature is a major marketing differentiator for these phones.
But when he appeared for his final swim at the Aquatic Centre, Phelps was wearing a hoodie covering the headset and the Sol Republic logo was hidden by white tape, according to the website Home Brew Audio that's tracked Phelps' tech accessorizing. The Olympiad had also slapped a Deadmau5 sticker on the headband - another sneaky bit of business. A visit to the DJ Deadmau5 website finds a Sol Republic ad introducing a new orange and yellow toned model - "the world's first headphones for cats."
Sol Republic CEO Kevin Lee claims "total surprise" about Phelps wearing the phones during the Olympics, though the Portland Business Journal carried a story in June about Phelps wearing the branded product at Olympic trials in Omaha, Neb.