Toyota signs on as global Olympic sponsor in long-term deal

Friday, March 13, 2015, Vol. 39, No. 11

TOKYO (AP) — Toyota Motor Corp. signed on as a worldwide Olympic sponsor Friday in a long-term deal reportedly worth nearly $1 billion.

The deal starts globally in 2017 and runs through the 2024 Olympics, including the 2020 Games in Tokyo

Toyota becomes the first car company ever signed up by the International Olympic Committee for its top-tier TOP sponsorship program. It joins as a sponsor in the "mobility category."

Terms of the deal were not announced, but Japanese media reported Toyota will pay $835 million.

IOC President Thomas Bach was in Tokyo to sign the agreement with Toyota president Akio Toyoda.

"This is a very symbolic day," Bach said. "It is the first time in the successful history of the TOP program that we have had a mobility category."

Toyota becomes the third Japanese company to become a worldwide Olympic sponsor after Panasonic and Bridgestone. Toyota also becomes the 12th TOP sponsor and third committed through 2024. Other TOP sponsors include Coca-Cola and McDonald's.

The Toyota deal covers the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, and the 2022 Winter Games and 2024 Summer Olympics. The host cities for the 2022 and 2024 games have not yet been selected.

While Toyota will join the TOP program in 2017, it will have marketing rights in Japan with immediate effect.

The IOC said Toyota will work with organizing committees to "provide sustainable mobility solution for the games to help with safer, more efficient mobility, including intelligent transport systems, urban traffic systems and vehicle-to-vehicle communications systems."

Bach said the deal is in line with the Olympic Agenda 2020 reforms approved by the IOC in December.

"We will do everything possible to fulfil our new role in The Olympic Partner Program and to justify the trust that the IOC has placed in us," Toyoda said. "The addition of the mobility category ... is important recognition for our entire industry."

The head of the IOC's marketing commission is Tsunekazu Takeda, who is also president of the Japanese Olympic Committee and vice president of Tokyo's organizing committee.

"This agreement is a powerful indication of the strength of the Olympic brand globally and the appeal of an association with the Olympic movement," Takeda said.