Olympics-Bridgestone signs four-year deal with IOC's Olympic channel
By Karolos Grohmann
RIO DE JANEIRO Aug 15 (Reuters) - Tire and rubber manufacturer Bridgestone Corp has signed a four-year deal to help fund the International Olympic Committee's new television channel, becoming the first company to do so, the firm and the IOC said on Monday.
The $450-million Olympics channel will launch officially on Aug. 21, the last day of this year's Rio de Janeiro's games, and is aimed at keeping the games in the public eye in the two-year period between summer and winter Olympics and winning over a new generation of younger fans.
Bridgestone and the IOC declined to comment on the financial details.
Referring to the deal announced on Monday, Timo Lumme, director of the IOC's television and marketing services, said the deal would run until the end of 2020.
Unveiled as a plan in 2014, the TV channel is expected to cost nearly half a billion euros for the period 2015-2021 with a prediction to break even within seven to 10 years.
"First and foremost we are making an investment in the channel as we believe in this mission," said Michael Fluck, Bridgestone Americas senior director in digital marketing and strategy.
"It is an opportunity to activate it with a truly global platform. We certainly have plans to drive business as well," he added.
Japanese company Bridgestone became one of the IOC's global sponsors in 2014. (Editing by Nina Chestney)
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