SBJ/January 29 - February 4, 2001/Marketingsponsorship

IOC, Swatch decide time is right

The International Olympic Committee has formed a long-term partnership with Switzerland-based The Swatch Group Ltd. in which Swatch will handle timing, scoring and venue-results services for the Games through 2010.

Swatch reportedly will spend about $150 million to become the Official Timekeeper and Results Service Partner of the Olympics for the 2004 Summer Games in Athens, Greece, the 2006 Winter Games in Turin, Italy, the 2008 Summer Games and the 2010 Winter Games. The deal also includes similar services for the Paralympic Games from 2004 to 2010.

Responsibility for timing and scoring had previously alternated between Swatch and Seiko Corp., which has rights to the 2002 Games in Salt Lake City, and rights were awarded for just two years at a time.

When IBM wrapped up its commitment to the Games last year in Sydney, however, the IOC needed to find a company to handle venue-results services as well.

"The deal is a critical deal for the Olympic movement, tying up a vital part of the technology preparations for the Games," said Michael Payne, IOC marketing director.

"The driving force behind all of this was to find a technological solution that was as risk-free and efficient as possible. We wanted to avoid reinventing the wheel every two years."

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