By Barry Janoff
June 13, 2014: Bridgestone Corp., which is no stranger to major sports alliances, has now joined what is arguably the biggest sports stage in the world.
The tire company confirmed today that is has become a worldwide TOP partner of the International Olympic Committee with the designation of official tire of the Olympic Games.
Bridgestone said it has already begun to activate its efforts focusing on the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro. The alliance runs through 2024.
Financial details were not disclosed.
The alliance was unveiled during a joint press conference in Tokyo, the city that will host the 2020 Summer Games and also where Bridgestone’s global headquarters are located.
According to Bridgestone, product categories covered by the agreement include seismic isolation bearings, non-motorized bicycles and the full range of tires manufactured by Bridgestone.
As a global TOP Partner, Bridgestone said it would partner with the IOC and all 204 National Olympic Committees and their Olympic teams.
Other IOC TOP partners include ATOS, Coca-Cola, Dow, General Electric, McDonald's, Omega, Panasonic, Procter & Gamble, Samsung and Visa.
According to the IOC, the Olympic TOP program, which was created in 1985, is the highest level of Olympic sponsorship and provides sponsors with exclusive worldwide marketing rights to the Summer, Winter and Youth Olympic Games.
"TOP Partner companies are multinational organizations which are able to provide direct support, sponsor services or expertise for the staging of the Games," per the IOC. "In addition to supporting the IOC and the Organizing Committees, TOP Partners support National Olympic Committees and their Olympic teams.
As with other TOP Partners, Bridgestone will receive exclusive global marketing rights and opportunities within their designated product category.
Bridgestone said that the partnership gives the company "a strategic global platform which will allow it to reach its customers with new activation and communication methods, build awareness of its brands and technologies and continue globalizing its operations through the support of its proud teammates around the world."
“As a global corporation, Bridgestone is excited to partner with the entire Olympic Movement, a group of organizations that not only brings together the world’s athletes at the greatest athletic festival, but also blends this celebration of sport with a spirit of service to community, social responsibility, a respect for diversity and a commitment to the fundamental principles of Olympism," Bridgestone CEO and chairman Masaaki Tsuya said during the time of the announcement, "We look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship where, through this partnership, we will communicate on a global basis our commitment to society as well as our brand message.”
Bridgestone has had sports alliances that include or have included the NFL, MLB, motor sports, skiing and golf, the latter anchored by the World Golf Championships Bridgestone Invitational (in Akron, Ohio (which will next be held July 31-Aug. 4). The company also has naming rights to Bridgestone Arena, located in Bridgestone America's headquarters in Nashville.
According to IOC President Thomas Bach, "The TOP program is a truly global sponsorship program as it benefits all future Games organizers and all the National Olympic Committees and their athletes, ensuring athletes from all over the world, and not just the largest countries, are able to compete at the Games."
Bach said that the IOC redistributes more than 90% of its revenues to the "wider sporting movement. Bridgestone is a global leader in its field and we are delighted to welcome the company to the TOP program and are excited for the long term commitment they have shown to the Olympic Movement."
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