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Will the £1 billion Olympic 'schmoozeathon' make any difference?

Will the Olympics have any real long-term effect on the UK's economy? Photo: REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

Will the glossy brochure, the shortbread branded with the Olympic Rings (I'm not joking), or the line of shiny smart cars dropping off business leaders from around the world at Lancaster House, branded for the 'British Business Embassy' make any difference to our economy?

Bold promises from the boss of UKTI, the government's trade arm, and a bold appeal from the Prime Minister this morning have promised billions of pounds of deals that will be signed during this Olympic period.

David Cameron promised billions of pounds of deals that will be signed during the Olympics Credit: REUTERS/POOL

A huge potential deal to have another go at redeveloping London's Battersea Power Station site has been announced already. And more are promised.

It can't hurt to gather together so many influential business people in the UK's capital. Sir Martin Sorrell, the boss of WPP the world's biggest advertising company, told me this morning it is a good opportunity to 'refresh the brand'.

Sir Martin Sorrell believes the Olympics are a good opportunity to 'refresh the brand' Credit: REUTERS/Neil Hall

But it might be foolhardy to overestimate the potential of such events. The impact of big sporting events is normally more profound and potentially transformative for developing countries. And in truth, as happens during politicians' highly publicised trade trips, the timing of the deals that may be announced will be highly coordinated.

Will the London 2012 branding translate into real economic benefit? Credit: REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

Yet a day after GDP figures suggested our economy is shrinking faster than Spain's, a bit of schmoozeing surely can't hurt.