Swatch, IOC sign long-term agreement

The Swatch Group Ltd. on Jan. 22 signed a long-term partnership agreement with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to provide timing, scoring, and venue results for the Olympic Games.

The Biel, Switzerland-based company will be the ‘official timekeeper’ and ‘results service partner’ for the Olympic Games in 2004 and 2008, and the Olympic Winter Games in 2006 and 2010. The agreement also anticipates similar services for the Paralympic Games held between 2004 and 2010.

This is the first time the IOC has entered into such a long-term pact for these services. It is part of the IOC’s strategy, says an IOC report, to ‘develop a long-term technology consortium composed of a small core of key technology partners to ensure the successful delivery and transfer of knowledge from one Olympic Games to the next.’

The Swatch Group-which also provided timing for the Atlanta and Sydney Games-has been a ‘long-standing partner of the Olympic Movement, developing the necessary equipment and know-how, and continuously training their experts,’ said Juan Antonio Samaranch, IOC president, in announcing the partnership.

Nicholas G. Hayek, the Swatch Group’s chairman and chief executive officer, noted that the Olympic Games are ‘an emotional festival and the most perfect, peaceful, and warmhearted competition between the youth. The Olympic Games fit perfectly with Swatch’s strategy.’