Seven firms pledge $3.2 mln for İstanbul Olympic bid

March 10, 2013, Sunday/ 14:39:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

Seven of Turkey's leading conglomerates have pledged to contribute to the bid to bring the 2020 Summer Olympics to İstanbul, with sponsorship deals worth $3.2 million.

An earlier meeting in Berlin in January resulted in seven firms pledging investments as high as $20 million to sponsor the games. The list of sponsors includes Turkish Airlines, Koç Holding, Ülker, Doğuş Group, Digiturk, Sabancı Holding and Turkcell.

Sports Minister Suat Kılıç announced the deals alongside representatives from the seven companies in İstanbul on Friday evening. The deals follow earlier pledges from separate businesspeople to boost İstanbul's promotion on a global scale.

"Before our sponsors became involved in the process, we felt all alone. … When they decided to provide their support, we realized we were one big family," Kılıç said. The minister said the seven firms will put up $3.2 million in sponsorships, an amount which he said represented “50 percent of the burden.”

İstanbul is competing in the final three with Madrid and Tokyo for the right to host the 2020 Summer Olympics. This is the fifth bid Turkey has made in the last six selections. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will elect the host city in a vote in September in Buenos Aires. Last week, Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras pledged “full support” for İstanbul's 2020 bid.

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