Toyota Motor Corp. is now a sponsor of the Olympic Games, the biggest amateur sporting event in the world. The sponsorship deal, announced by Toyota President Akio Toyoda and International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach, will cover 10 years through 2024, a period that also covers the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The Japanese carmaker will be sponsoring a new category of products that will be showcased at the Olympics -- vehicles, mobility services like road safety, and transportation services and mobility support products. Toyota will also be the exclusive provider of vehicles for any national and global Olympic activity. Toyota’s sponsorship takes effect immediately in Japan through 2016.
Then the sponsorship rights will then be extended globally in 2017 following the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Japanese press reported that Toyota will shell out $835 million. Kyodo News reported in January the cost of becoming a top sponsor at the Tokyo Olympics might go as little as JPY15 billion ($123 million).
Toyota will be one of 11 companies granted with exclusive global marketing rights under The Olympic Partner, or TOP, program. Until after 2024, other carmakers can’t become TOP sponsors.
With the deal, Toyota will be the first carmaker becoming a top-tier Olympic sponsor and the third Japanese TOP partner, after Panasonic Corp. (1987) and Bridgestone Corp. (2014).
Other TOP sponsors include Coca Cola, General Electric, McDonald’s, Samsung, Visa and watchmaker Omega. According to Bach, the IOC added a new mobility sponsorship category, considering the logistical challenges facing the games. He remarked that traffic management and traffic is one of the major challenges at the Olympic games, and it is only logical that IOC is addressing this issue.
Toyota remarked that sports are a perfect platform for bringing people together and demonstrating Toyota’s technologies. “The impact of sports on our lives cannot be underestimated,” Toyoda quipped.
The deal will ensure that Toyota will get the dominant hand among Japanese carmaker during the Tokyo Olympics. It is expected that the Mirai fuel-cell sedan will be featured prominently in support roles as an Olympic vehicle.