Intel Close To Announcing TOP Sponsorship, Becoming Latest Tech Company To Join IOC
Intel is close to announcing a nine-figure global sponsorship deal with the IOC, according to sources, marking the tech giant’s most ambitious step yet in its two-year-old strategy of using sports to market the user experience it powers instead of the microprocessors it sells. Terms are not yet known, but membership in the IOC’s TOP sponsorship program sells for roughly $200M for a four-year cycle, mitigating the loss of McDonald’s from the program announced on Friday. It includes worldwide rights to use the Olympic rings, sponsorships of national Olympic teams and extensive hospitality and activation assets at the Games themselves. Intel’s exact category definition is unclear, and one source said that question has been at the forefront of negotiations for nearly a year. Drones and virtual reality were two possible components of a deal, sources said. It is a crowded space -- the IOC already has several other technology partners, including Samsung (wireless communication equipment and computing equipment), Panasonic (audiovisual equipment), and Alibaba Group (cloud computing). Also, organizers of the upcoming Olympics in South Korea and Japan have signed their own tech partners to domestic deals. Intel CEO Brian Krzanich has been a personal driver of this deal and has insisted that it start in ‘18, a source said, seeing the PyeongChang Games as an inflection point for technology and sports because of Korean telecom provider KT’s plans to showcase 5G technology there. Intel has scheduled a press conference in N.Y. for next Wednesday. It did not disclose the topic, but included the Olympic rings in its note. Intel did not respond to questions and the IOC declined comment.
TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE: Time is short for Intel if it hopes to activate at the Games in eight months. Major sponsors have booked hotels and are in the detailed planning stages for hospitality/activation programs that often involve hundreds of people and staff. Intel is already seeking agencies to help it build a plan around PyeongChang and the ’20 Tokyo Games, sources said. For the IOC, Intel is the second new global sponsor added in just six months, following the blockbuster deal with Alibaba announced in January. It is the fourth addition in an entirely new category at the global level since ‘14, adding new financial stability in an era of rapid change for the Olympic movement and some of its longest-tenured sponsors The deal is also a boon to the USOC, which gets 20% of IOC deals. The IOC’s sponsorship portfolio is evolving as its commercial division seeks sponsors that are willing to support the IOC’s major strategic initiatives as well as market their wares. Since ‘15, Intel has done sports sponsorship deals with the X Games, the PGA Tour, MLB and NBA All-Star Games and the Super Bowl. Its marketing with those properties has demonstrated its role in VR, 360-degree replay technology and advanced analytics. It also recently signed a major technology sponsorship with esports tournament organizer ESL.