TOKYO — Toyota Motor Corp. signed on as a worldwide Olympic sponsor Friday in a landmark deal reportedly worth nearly $1 billion, becoming the first car company to join the IOC's top-tier marketing program.
The eight-year deal starts globally in 2017 and runs through the 2024 Olympics. It will cover three consecutive Olympics in Asia, including the 2020 Games in Tokyo.
Toyota becomes the first auto manufacturer ever signed up by the International Olympic Committee for its global TOP sponsorship program. It joins as a sponsor in the "mobility category."
Terms of the deal were not announced, but Japanese media reported Toyota will pay $835 million.
That would be a record for any IOC sponsorship deal — by far. Four-year TOP deals are usually worth about $100 million and eight-year agreements $200 million.
IOC President Thomas Bach was in Tokyo to sign the agreement with Toyota president Akio Toyoda.
"This is a very symbolic day," Bach said. "It is the first time in the successful history of the TOP program that we have had a mobility category."
Toyota, the world's largest automaker, becomes the third Japanese company to become a worldwide Olympic sponsor after Panasonic and Bridgestone. Toyota also becomes the 12th TOP sponsor overall and third committed through 2024. Other TOP sponsors include Coca-Cola and McDonald's.
The Toyota deal covers the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, and the 2022 Winter Games and 2024 Summer Olympics. The host cities for the 2022 and 2024 games have not yet been selected.
Two Asian candidates — Beijing and Almaty, Kazakhstan — are bidding for the 2022 Games, with the IOC vote to be held on July 31.
While Toyota will join the TOP program in 2017, it will have marketing rights in Japan with immediate effect.
"From the beginning of 2017, Toyota is our exclusive worldwide partner for the mobility category," Bach said. "And exclusivity means no other partner can join the program and can support the national Olympic committees."
The deal locks Korean car giant Hyundai out of the 2018 Pyeongchang Games on its home turf. If Boston wins the right to host the 2024 Olympics, the U.S. car industry would also be shut out.
The IOC said Toyota will work with organizing committees to "provide sustainable mobility solution for the games to help with safer, more efficient mobility, including intelligent transport systems, urban traffic systems and vehicle-to-vehicle communications systems."
Bach said the deal is in line with the Olympic Agenda 2020 reforms approved by the IOC in December.
"We will do everything possible to fulfil our new role in The Olympic Partner Program and to justify the trust that the IOC has placed in us," Toyoda said. "The addition of the mobility category ... is important recognition for our entire industry."
The head of the IOC's marketing commission is Tsunekazu Takeda, who is also president of the Japanese Olympic Committee and vice president of Tokyo's organizing committee.
"This agreement is a powerful indication of the strength of the Olympic brand globally and the appeal of an association with the Olympic movement," Takeda said.
Toyota will showcase its products at the Tokyo Games, including the Toyota Mirai, a hydrogen-powered vehicle that is eco-friendly and in line with the Olympic theme of sustainability.
"Mr. Toyoda does not wait to promote the Murai in Tokyo 2020," Bach said. "He already started this morning. I had an opportunity to drive the Mirai at the exhibition center and it was a great experience."
Other TOP sponsors are General Electric, Atos, Dow, Omega, Samsung, VISA and Procter and Gamble.