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Dow signs as top-tier Olympics sponsor

NEW YORK -- Dow Chemical announced its new 10-year deal with the International Olympic Committee on Friday, making it the official "chemistry company" for the Games.

The American giant became a top-tier sponsor through 2020. Olympic and Dow officials declined to reveal terms, but IOC marketing commission chairman Gerhard Heiberg said the value of deals was increasing even with the global financial crisis. Each four-year IOC sponsorship contract usually goes for up to $100 million.

"The five Olympic rings are the only medium that we have in the world that is recognized by 95 percent of the global population," said Dow vice president Heinz Haller. "Developing countries, developed countries, mature economies, emerging economies."

The deal covers the 2012 London Olympics; 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia; 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro; and the 2018 Winter Games and 2020 Summer Olympics.

The impending deal with Dow was first reported by The Associated Press last month.

"We have set very strict environmental rules that the builders and contractors must follow. We know that Dow is also very committed to that," IOC president Jacques Rogge said. "We want the games to be a sustainable legacy."

Dow becomes the 10th global sponsor for the London Games. The others are Coca-Cola, Acer, Atos Origin, GE, McDonald's, Omega, Panasonic, Samsung and Visa.

Atos Origin, Panasonic and Samsung are signed through 2016. Coca-Cola, Omega and Visa are signed through 2020.

The IOC has also been negotiating with Procter & Gamble and BMW as it tries to match or exceed the 11 sponsors it had in the last four-year cycle. Heiberg said it will sign no more than 12. Rogge said additional deals could be announced in the next couple months.

The Dow deal is also expected to help solve some of the problems the USOC and IOC are having on their long-standing dispute over revenue splits. The sides are trying to reach an agreement on how much the USOC should pay toward the administrative costs of putting on the Olympics.

Adding a new sponsor puts more money into the pot and makes it easier for the USOC to compromise on the Games-cost issue.

The administrative-costs issue is part of a bigger agreement between the parties to begin negotiations in 2013 on a new revenue-sharing formula to go into effect in 2020.

The USOC gets a 20 percent share of global sponsorship revenue and a 12.75 percent share of U.S. broadcast rights deals. Many international officials think it's too big a portion.