Sponsor Acer still to decide on life after London

by Reuters    Jul 27, 2012

AcerTaiwanese computer maker Acer Corp sees the London Olympics as a coming of age party for a company that stresses its youth, but has yet to decide whether it will sign up to sponsor future Games.

Acer is in talks with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) about a renewal but has yet to agree an extension of a sponsorship deal that runs only until the end of the year.

“We are concentrating on London now,” said Anton Mitsyuk, who heads the company’s Olympic programme.

Mitsyuk, who is Russian, would not be drawn on whether Acer would still be the IOC’s computer equipment sponsor when the Winter Games are held in Sochi in his home country in 2014.

“We have a work in progress, let’s say, a discussion with the IOC, which we haven’t yet finalised,” he told Reuters at the opening of the pavilion in London’s Olympic Park, where the company will entertain clients.

“I think it’s up to both of us,” he said when asked why there had been no agreement.

Founded in 1976, Acer is the world’s fourth-largest PC maker. It became a sponsor after the Beijing Olympics in 2008, when China’s Lenovo ended its partnership with the IOC.

It is one of 11 companies which pay an estimated $100 million each for global marketing rights to the Games. They include some of the biggest consumer brands such as Coca-Cola and McDonald’s.

Mitsyuk indicated some frustration with the way the sponsorship programme is structured. It also features South Korea’s Samsung Electronics in the wireless category and Japan’s Panasonic in the audio-visual sector.

Developments in technology mean the boundaries between products produced by those companies are increasingly blurred.

“It was structured many years ago. At that time it was very clear. Now we have many technologies converging (and) it’s more and more difficult,” said Mitsyuk. “It takes a lot more effort to distinguish what technology sponsors can do.”

For the moment, Acer wants to prove it can perform in an environment where errors are not tolerated.

“If we can do this, we will show to our clients that we are a serious company capable of really very advanced projects,” Mitsyuk said.