Olympic timekeeper Omega renews through 2032 Summer Games
LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) ��� Olympic timekeeper Omega has extended its IOC sponsorship deal for three more Summer Games through to 2032.
The 12-year extension, signed Monday, will complete a centenary since Omega first timed Olympic events at the 1932 Los Angeles Games.
The value of the deal, which includes the IOC selling marketing rights and paying for timing services, was not disclosed. In its most recent financial report, the IOC's top-tier sponsorship program was said to earn more than $1 billion for the 2013-16 commercial cycle.
Omega is the first of the IOC's 13 current top-tier sponsors to commit through 2032.
IOC President Thomas Bach said "for us, it was always about Omega," and so interest from commercial rivals was resisted.
"We know what we have with Omega and it's the best we could get," Bach said at the signing event.
Switzerland-based Swatch Group, which includes the Omega brand, has been a top-tier IOC sponsor since 2004.
Omega is also a longtime backer of Michael Phelps, the winner of a record 23 Olympic gold medals and 28 medals in total.
The 31-year-old American swimmer is retired but told The Associated Press last month he could ask himself, "Do I have that itch again?"
Describing the American as a "charismatic champion," Omega president and CEO Raynald Aeschlimann said the firm would not try to influence Phelps toward competing at a sixth Olympics in Tokyo in 2020.
"It is his decision," Aeschlimann said, noting that "we should never forget" it was only in the year before the 2016 Olympics that Phelps confirmed he would compete in Rio de Janeiro.
The firm also will not publicly support Sion's planned bid for the 2026 Winter Olympics - potentially the first Olympics hosted in Switzerland in 78 years, since the 1948 Winter Games in St. Moritz.
"We can't participate in the election process," said Nick Hayek, CEO of Swatch Group.
Still, he noted his home country had "problems with tourism" because of the strong Swiss franc and could benefit from a tourism boost.