Samsung signs local sponsorship deal for 2018 Games

A worker works on a Samsung outdoor advertisement installed atop an office building in central Seoul March 23, 2015. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji/Files

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea's Samsung Group has signed a 100 billion won ($92.22 million) local sponsorship contract to support the 2018 Winter Games, Pyeongchang organisers (POCOG) announced on Monday.

Sponsors had initially been slow to come forward for Pyeongchang, prompting the Korean government to urge business leaders to support the Games, but POCOG said that with Samsung's involvement they had achieved more than 40 percent of their target.

Samsung, who extended its TOP sponsorship contract as a worldwide International Olympic Committee partner last year, will provide assistance across a variety of business areas in the run-up to Asia's first Winter Olympics outside Japan.

It first signed up as a TOP sponsor with the IOC in 1998 and was also a local sponsor at the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

POCOG President Cho Yang-ho suggested that bringing Samsung on board would make other companies follow suit.

"We are happy to have Samsung support in addition to the TOP partner agreement with POCOG," he said in a statement. "We are confident that this sponsorship agreement will encourage other Korean companies to join as sponsors for the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games."

Samsung's involvement brings to six the number of local sponsorship agreements inked by POCOG with the Games less than three years away.

National flag carrier Korean Air signed up during an IOC coordination committee meeting last month.

Earlier on Monday, POCOG announced that the Korea International Cooperation Agency, the government-funded organisation which oversees foreign assistance and promotes the country abroad, had also signed on to give the Games a boost.

(Reporting by Peter Rutherford; Editing by Patrick Johnston)

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