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BMW Considering Global Olympics Sponsorship, Board Member Says

Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, the world’s largest luxury carmaker, may become a global sponsor of the International Olympic Committee, one of its board members said.

“Yes, we would like to expand our reach with the whole Olympic movement,” Ian Robertson, a BMW board member and its sales chief, said in an interview in London today, when asked if the company would be interested in a global Olympics sponsorship.

The IOC currently has 11 sponsors in its so-called Olympic Partner program. That’s the highest level of sponsorship and gives companies exclusive global marketing rights to the Summer, Winter and Youth Olympic Games. Procter & Gamble Co., the world’s largest consumer-products company, and Dow Chemical Co., the world’s second-largest chemical company, last year joined the top-tier program through 2020. Other top-tier sponsors of the IOC include General Electric Co. and Visa Inc. The IOC doesn’t have a global car sponsor.

IOC president Jacques Rogge told Bloomberg in an interview in July that the Lausanne, Switzerland-based organization wanted to add one more global sponsor to a program that has raised more than $1 billion in income.

“The values of the Olympic movement fit very nicely with ours, and it’s something which has a true global position,” Robertson said at the Sport Accord conference in London.

“Not many sports do. Whether it’s the Winter Olympics or the Summer Olympics, there is huge audience participation, it really is an international affair on all corners of the globe and that’s something we’d like to be part of.”

Munich Bid

Earlier in the day, Robertson had appeared on stage alongside two-time Olympic figure-skating champion Katarina Witt and German interior minister Hans-Peter Friedrich to help present the Munich bid to host the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Munich-based BMW, which was also involved with the 1972 Munich Summer Games, is one of several German companies supporting the Bavarian city’s bid. The carmaker also endorses the national Olympic committees of the U.S., China, France and Greece, and is backing next year’s London 2012 Olympics.

Munich is competing with Annecy, France, and Pyeongchang, South Korea, to host the Games, with the IOC voting July 6 in Durban, South Africa.

“If Munich wins, it will be very good for German industry,” Robertson said. “But I also think it will be very good for the Olympic movement. As we’ve been talking in there, German companies are highly involved with the Olympic movement, in particular the winter side. And I can see that being extended even further.”

German companies currently generate 50 percent of the revenue of the 7 sports federations that have events in the Olympic Winter Games, Robertson said.

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