Seoul, KOREA – Korean electronics giant Samsung on February 13 signed the biggest sports sponsorship deal in Asian history when it agreed to become a partner of the 2002 Asian Games which will be held in the Korean port city of Pusan.

‘Samsung were the first company to sign for the 1998 Asian Games and we are delighted that with the Games in Korea, they are again the first company to sign for the first Games of the new millennium,’ said OCA director-general Abdul Muttaleb Ahmad as he signed the agreement.

‘In September next year, all Asians will watch Pusan in order to cheer the athletes who will be doing their best in each event. We will applaud all, disregarding who is the winner and who is the loser and so ensure that all Asia shall become one,’ said Yun Jong-Yong, vice-chairman and chief executive of Samsung Electronics.

‘As a company Samsung really needs no introduction but their commitment and investment in Asian sport continues to be extraordinary,’ said Mr Muttaleb, who heads the 43 member OCA from headquarters in Kuwait.

Samsung is the first partner to sign on to sponsor the 2002 Asian Games, a sporting festival involving 43 countries and more than 12,000 athletes which takes place every four years.

OCA officials say they expect four more partner deals to be announced in the next eight weeks as the marketing programme – run by ISL on behalf of the OCA and Pusan organisers – picks up steam.

The Pusan Games will take place from September 29 to October 14 next year. The commercial programme for the 1998 Asian Games – which was held in the teeth of the Asian economic crisis – reportedly raised almost USD100 million.

For reasons of confidentiality the OCA would not disclose the value of the sponsorship, but Muttaleb confirmed he knew ‘of no deal that was comparable for any Asian sport event’.

ISL works with the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) as its exclusive marketing agent to manage and deliver the Asian Games Partner Programme, in coordination with the Asian Games Organising Committee (AGOC) appointed by the OCA. This security of investment provides the OCA and AGOCs with the structure needed to raise the funds necessary to stage and promote the Games. The OCA’s Partner Programme, developed by ISL, presents the region’s first and only integrated pan-Asian sports communication platform with unique promotional opportunities and unmatched television coverage across the largest and most culturally diverse region of the world.

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