Intel Inks Olympics Sponsorship Tech Deal

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Intel Corp. announced on Wednesday it would become a major sponsor of the International Olympic Committee, making the chipmaker the latest technology company to put marketing dollars behind the global sporting event.

Intel and the International Olympic Committee said on Wednesday the chip maker will become a world-wide sponsor of the Olympic Games through 2024 in a partnership to bring technologies, such as 5G wireless technology, virtual reality, 360 videos and artificial intelligence to the Olympic viewing experience.

The efforts will start with the next Olympics in Pyeongchang in 2018, and go through to 2024.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed but IOC sources have previously said that major sponsors pay about $100 million per four-year cycle, which includes one summer and one winter games. The IOC has been looking to increase the cost of those deals.

IOC President Thomas Bach said the partnership is part of the committee’s push for the Olympics to embrace and use new technologies to enhance viewers’ experience as well as the future of sports.

“We’ll allow people online to feel like they are there,” IOC chief executive officer Brian Krzanich said, speaking at a press conference in New York.

Intel’s announcement comes one week after McDonald’s Corp. announced it would be ending its Olympics partnership after the 2018 Winter Games, three years before the agreement was set to expire. The fast food giant, which has been an Olympics partner since 1976, expressed a desire to focus on other opportunities.

Intel joins about a dozen global Olympics sponsors such as Coca-Cola, Samsung and most recently, Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba, which signed on six months ago. The IOC has been trying to make the Olympics more technologically savvy and appeal to younger people through its internet-based TV network, the Olympic Channel.

The rise of digital networks and new media technologies have made up that opportunity exponentially, with more ways presenting those coverages, and more ways to reach more sports fans. Intel working on developing more of these services will directly feed into expanding that machine.

“Intel’s vision is that building a better world is our business. Our vision is building a better world through sport,” said Bach. “So bringing together these two visions will allow us to make great progress with regard to experience through games, as well as promoting the values we are sharing.”

Intel has made a number of moves in the arena of sports to ramp up its involvement in sports as a target vertical for the company’s efforts in emerging areas like VR. They have included acquisitions of Voke VR for immersive sports technology; Replay Technologies for 3D video tech; providing a March Madness experience in VR, and helping provide tech for the X-Games in Aspen and the NBA All-Star Weekend.

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