IOC could add top sponsor by Vancouver Games: Heiberg

By Karolos Grohmann

BERLIN (Reuters) - The International Olympic Committee could secure a 10th major sponsor in time for next month's Vancouver Olympics, IOC marketing commission chief Gerhard Heiberg said on Tuesday.

"There is hope (of a deal) just before Vancouver or during Vancouver," Heiberg told Reuters.

"I hope that we will have one but we are in negotiations with more than one company. I hope before or during Vancouver we will sign a contract and go public."

Asked whether the deal was a matter of weeks away, Heiberg said: "Maybe two weeks."

The IOC has targeted $1 billion in revenues from its TOP sponsors' program for the Vancouver 2010 winter Olympics, running from February 12 to 28, and the London 2012 summer Games.

The IOC currently has nine major sponsors for the Vancouver and London Games worth a total of $883 million.

The IOC's sponsor program for the two-Games package of the 2006 Turin and 2008 Beijing Olympics brought in $866 million.

The credit crisis stalled talks with potential sponsors last year but negotiations resumed toward the end of 2009, the IOC has said.

Financial details of such deals are not disclosed, however most major companies pay about $100 million in cash and in-kind services to become top sponsors over a four-year period that includes one summer and one winter Olympics.

Top sponsors confirmed for the Vancouver Games and the London Games are Coca-Cola, Acer, Atos Origin, GE, McDonald's, Omega, Panasonic, Samsung and Visa.

Atos Origin, Panasonic and Samsung have extended their partnerships until the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympics while Coca-Cola, Visa and Omega have extended their deals with the IOC until the 2020 Games.

These deals are unrelated to the sponsoring activities undertaken domestically by every Olympic host city in the run-up to the Games. Beijing raised more than $1 billion in domestic deals for the 2008 summer Games.

(Editing by Sonia Oxley)