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Volume 7 No. 149


German insurance giant Allianz is close to announcing a deal to become an IOC TOP sponsor. The eight-year deal will commence in '21 and run through the 2028 L.A. Games, sources said. Financial terms are not known, but the IOC has been known to be seeking $200M per quadrennial, or $50M per year, for worldwide rights. Allianz will become the IOC's first insurance partner since Boston-based John Hancock left the program after '08. John Hancock held the life insurance category globally and investment advisory services exclusivity in the U.S. An IOC spokesperson declined to comment. An Allianz representative did not return a message seeking comment.

Allianz's precise rights gained in the deal are not clear, but the insurer intends to use the Olympics to demonstrate its digital transformation and find younger customers, particularly via the IOC's social channels and the startup Olympic Channel. The deal extends Allianz's status as a global partner to the IPC, a relationship that first began in '06. The IOC will take over management of the IPC's rights starting in '21.

21 Marketing co-Founder Rob Prazmark, a longtime Olympic sponsorship salesperson, said the deal will immediately boost the company's brand reputation and revenue prospects. In addition to the sales opportunities a sponsorship will unlock, with more than 200 national Olympic teams and future Games hosts, Allianz can brand itself as a global company aligned with the Olympic ideals. The deal includes the 2022 Beijing Games, the 2024 Paris Games, the 2028 LA Games, and the 2026 Winter Games at a location yet to be determined. "So there's a little hand-on-heart to this, but there's also a tremendous business decision Allianz is making," Prazmark said.

Allianz is the fifth new member of the TOP program since '14, joining Bridgestone, Toyota, Alibaba and Intel. In that time, just one company, McDonald's, has dropped out. The newcomers will help the IOC grow its sponsorship revenue at a time when most media rights deals are locked in over the long term. The contracts for six remaining global partners expire in '20 -- P&G, Dow, Atos, GE, Coca-Cola and Samsung.

John Coates was in Tokyo for a two-day IOC project review meeting this week.

IOC Coordination Commission Chair John Coates said that planning for Tokyo 2020 "has been made harder because of the high disaster risks in Japan, a reality hammered home by a deadly typhoon and earthquake just last week," according to Elaine Lies of REUTERS. Western Japan last week was hit by "the strongest typhoon to strike the nation in 25 years," and then just days later by an earthquake that "paralyzed" the northernmost main island of Hokkaido and left roughly 40 dead. Coates admitted that the two disasters were "a bit of a reality check about the planning difficulties for what are already extremely complex Games due to the largest number of sports and events ever." He said, "What happened last week and what happened in Osaka certainly have hit home to me, and I know the Organizing Committee, about the further complexity of planning these Games." He added that he knows organizers are "taking the issue seriously and factoring it into their planning and scheduling" (REUTERS, 9/12).

SAYONARA, SAPPORO: KYODO reported Sapporo, Japan, intends to tell the IOC next week that it "plans to give up bidding for the Winter Olympics" in '26, a source familiar with the matter said, "with the city now aiming to stage the Games" in '30. Sapporo, which hosted the 1972 Winter Olympics, has been asking for the extension of the Hokkaido Shinkansen Line to the city earlier than the currently planned spring of '31 and "hopes to build infrastructure for the Olympics in line with the bullet train project," the source added. Sapporo Deputy Mayor Takatoshi Machida is expected to brief IOC President Thomas Bach about its withdrawal from the '26 bid in a meeting on Monday (KYODO, 9/13).