With its name and audio-visual equipment splashed throughout the London Olympics, Panasonic Corp. hopes that its sponsorship will help it reach the top of the podium as it struggles to regain profitability for the current business year.
“In an Olympic year, we have traditionally got an inside track over our competition,” said a marketing official at Panasonic, one of the 11 top-ranked worldwide sponsors under the TOP (The Olympic Partner) program.
The electronics giant delivered audio-visual equipment, estimated to be worth more than 5 billion yen ($64 million), for the London Games, which closed on Aug. 12.
The installations included cameras for three-dimensional broadcasting, the first in Olympic history, as well as 45 large light-emitting diode screens, sound systems at 36 venues and 2,500 security cameras.
Panasonic said the value of equipment was the largest it has ever supplied for an Olympic Games although it did not disclose the specific amount.
The company hopes the sponsorship will promote its brand recognition in Europe, where it competes fiercely with South Korean rivals such as Samsung Electronics Co., another TOP sponsor.
Panasonic also set up a 400-square-meter corporate pavilion, dubbed Panasonic Full HD 3-D Theater, at the Olympic Park, the main venue in London’s Stratford district.
The facility, which allowed visitors to watch athletes in action in live, high-definition images, drew crowds during the 17-day Games.
The TOP sponsorship is estimated to be around 10 billion yen for each Games, a tab that does not come easy for a company that racked up a record net loss of 772 billion yen for the year that ended in March.
Panasonic’s TOP contract, which runs through the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, was inked in 2007 before the global economy was battered by the financial crisis triggered by the collapse of U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers.
The Olympic Games has been a showcase event for manufacturers to refine cutting-edge technologies.
For the London Games, Panasonic engineers developed small, light and ultra-bright projectors for the opening and closing ceremonies at the request of the organizers.
Panasonic, which shed 30,000 jobs, posted a net profit of 12.8 billion yen for the April-June period, its first black ink in six quarters. The company is projecting 50 billion yen in net profits for the year through March.
Panasonic is currently the only TOP sponsor from Japan. The others are Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Acer, Atos, Dow Chemical, General Electric, Omega, Procter and Gamble, Visa and Samsung Electronics.
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