Japan's Panasonic keen to extend sponsorship to Tokyo

Panasonic Corp's President Tsuga poses in front of company logos after an interview with Reuters in Tokyo
Panasonic Corp's President Kazuhiro Tsuga poses in front of company logos after an interview with Reuters in Tokyo September 4, 2013. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

BERLIN (Reuters) - Japan's Panasonic would like to extend its long-running Olympic sponsorship to take it up to 2020 when Tokyo will host the Games, the company's chief executive said on Tuesday.

Panasonic has been a sponsor of the Games since 1987, providing cameras used to relay the action to sports fans around the world and big screens at events.

However, its Olympic sponsorship agreement expires in 2016 when Rio stages the Games and the company is having to reshape its business after losing $15 billion over the past two years.

"If we could expand that contract, we would be happy," Panasonic Chief Executive Kazuhiro Tsuga told reporters at an electronics trade fair in Berlin, indicating that the Olympic deal remained a priority.

"Since it is in Tokyo, we have lots of chances," he added, saying a renewal would have to be negotiated with the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

The IOC's decision on Saturday to award the 2020 Games to Tokyo has sparked a stock market rally fuelled by hopes of a boost to a stagnant Japanese economy.

Panasonic is one of 10 global sponsors who pay some $100 million to use the Olympic name and logo in their advertising over a four-year cycle covering summer and winter Games.

(Reporting by Klaus Lauer in Berlin; writing by Keith Weir, editing by Clare Fallon)