Sponsor Spotlight -- Citi Joins USOC; 2014 Print Media Sponsor

(ATR) USOC communications chief tells Around the Rings the USOC's new sponsorship deal is due to improved relations with NBC... Sochi signs printed media sponsor... Volkswagen earns record profits, sponsors tennis table event.

New USOC Sponsor

The U.S. Olympic Committee says the addition of new sponsor Citi shows how improved relations with broadcaster NBC is attractive to new sponsors.

Speaking to Around the Rings, Patrick Sandusky, Chief Communications Officer for the USOC says "since day one [USOC CEO Scott Blackmun] has made it a top priority to have a great relationship with our broadcast partner and has tried to find new and creative ways to engage potential sponsors in their support of the Olympic Movement and this is a great example of both."

Two years ago, the relationship between the USOC and NBC could be described as tense. However, since joining the USOC, Blackmun has worked to improve relations with the broadcast giant.

Citi, a global financial services company, will have rights to corporate and investment banking, retail banking and commercial banking. The company has more than 200 million customer accounts.

Sandusky described the sponsorship as "an integrated partnership with NBC and the USOC".

"This is now an opportunity for a sponsor to make one decision, they’re going to be all-in from now until the Olympic Games in terms of unified marketing, advertising, on-line presence and that helps the Olympic brand even more in the U.S. when a company like Citi comes on board."

Part of the sponsorship includes advertising time on NBC.

Citi’s Executive Vice President for Global Public Affairs Ed Skyler tells ATR the company was happy to join the Olympic Movement.

"2012 is our 200th anniversary and as America’s global bank, it is a great opportunity for us to express our gratitude for the support we’ve had from the American people.

"We will take from this the satisfaction of supporting our Olympic athletes as they compete and strive for excellence which is something we do everyday."

He added "it is a very special deal and one we feel our 100,000 employees will feel very proud of."

The agreement was announced Thursday in a statement. Negotiations began four months ago and a deal was finalized Wednesday.

As is typical, no financial details of the deal are available but Sandusky said "it is a significant sponsorship and an important one".

Blackmun, along with USOC marketing chief Lisa Baird and Olympic marketing expert Rob Prazmark led negotiations.

Sochi Welcomes New Supplier

Sochi 2014 has a Printed Media Supplier.

Kommersant Publishing House will oversee educational resources planning and delivering traditional newspapers during the 2014 Olympics.

The organizing committee made the announcement Thursday.

The agreement allows Kommersant to use the Olympic and Paralympic symbols in its advertising campaigns.

As a supplier in the printed media category, the publishing company also will produce Cultural Olympiad special editions and transport and ticketing programs.

Kommersant Publishing House joins MegaFon, Rosneft and Sberbank as partners of Sochi 2014.

Komersant is one of the most powerful print media companies in Russia.

London Targets Ambush Marketing

In an effort to cut down on ambush marketing during London 2012, thegovernment has made giving away t-shirts and using posters orbillboards near venues illegal, according to the London Telegraph.

The law also targets sky-writing, flyers and projected advertising within 200 meters of Olympic venues during competition.

Companies could be fined nearly $28,000 if in violation of the law.

"The regulations will prevent ambush marketing and unauthorized trading," Hugh Robertson, U.K. Minister for Sport Hugh

Historic Year for Sochi Sponsor

Sochi 2014 sponsor Volkswagen Group reported that 2010 was the most successful year in the company’s history.

The automaker reported sales revenue was up 20.6 percent to $175 billion in 2010 from $145 billion in 2009.

"This shows how systematically we are working on our cost structures and how we are continuously optimizing our processes," Volkswagen Group CFO Hans Dieter Potsch said in a press release.

Volkswagen recently sponsored the VW Cup, a table tennis event, in Guangzhou. Winners received a new Volkswagen Sirocco and nearly $250,000 in prize money.

LOCOG Secures Third-Tier Sponsor

London 2012’s latest sponsor is sure to keep the Games a bit more secure.

LOCOG announced Thursday that Rapiscan Systems Limited UK – now official security equipment and systems supplier – will provide more than 2,000 inspection systems to screen vehicles, baggage and spectators at all Olympic venues.

This marks LOCOG’s 38th domestic sponsorship.

Briefs...

... Subway has beat TOP sponsor McDonald's in having the most restaurants around the world. Subway reported having 33,749 restaurants in 2010, while McDonald's had 32,737.

...TOP sponsor Dow Chemical has also signed on to sponsor the Special Olympics. Dow will be the chemistry company for the Special Olympics in Athens this summer.

Written by Isia Reaves Wilcox and Ed Hula III