SEOUL – The cash-strapped organizing committee of the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea secured a crucial sponsorship agreement Monday with Samsung Group, worth more than $90 million dollars.
The committee said the 100 billion won ($92 million) deal covered 40 percent of its target and would hopefully motivate other sponsors to follow suit.
Committee president Cho Yang-Ho told reporters that having Samsung on board would provide “fresh power” for the successful hosting of the Games in the northeastern ski resort of Pyeongchang.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) picked Pyeongchang as the host in 2011, favouring it over Munich and the French Alpine town of Annecy.
But the organising committee has struggled to find corporate sponsors, prompting President Park Geun-Hye to make an urgent appeal in February for business leaders to step up.
Seoul-headquartered Samsung, which has already signed a global Top Olympic Partner contract with the International Olympic Committee, was only the sixth domestic company to sign a local sponsorship deal for Pyeongchang.
The organising committee generated no income in 2013 and just 3.5 billion won last year.
But with Samsung on board, the committee’s secretary general, Kwak Young-Jin, said 70 percent of its sponsorship target should be in place by the end of the year.