By Martin Vedris

LONDON: Panasonic has extended its global sponsorship of the Olympic Games until the 2016 Summer Games in a new eight-year deal signed in London by Panasonic president Fumio Ohtsubo and International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge.

The news was reported by The Associated Press and the International Herald Tribune. Although the exact financial terms weren’t reported, a single four-year sponsorship sells for US$70 million or more.

Panasonic has been an Olympic sponsor since 1985. It will continue as the IOC’s official audio and video equipment category sponsor.

Panasonic will have exclusive global marketing rights for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games, the 2012 London Summer Olympics, the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, and the 2016 Summer Games, whose host city will be selected in 2009.

Panasonic has become the eighth company to sign up as a global sponsor for the Vancouver and London Olympics, joining Coca-Cola, Atos Origin, GE, McDonald’s, Omega, Visa and Samsung.

Samsung’s Olympic sponsorship deal also goes through 2016, while Coke’s sponsorship lasts through to 2020.