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Barclays drops out of Olympics sponsorship race

LONDON - Barclays Bank, which had been tipped to sign up as one of the top-tier sponsors of the London 2012 Olympics, is no longer in the running for a package.

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The bank, already sponsor of the football Premier League at a cost of £65.8m up until 2010, was a speculative favourite to win the rights to use the Olympic rings in its advertising in the run-up to 2012.

A bidding race among banks and financial institutions to win one of two sponsorship packages ended last week with Barclays not involved in the bidding. Barclays declined to comment on the situation but a spokesman for the Olympic Games said there was no lack of applicants to join the list of sponsors.

The cost of staging the Games has rocketed recently to an estimated £5bn, £1.6bn more than the original estimate. Organisers are looking to raise £750m in sponsorship to quell the rising costs of staging the event and a bank or financial institution would be expected to put up £100m.

The London Organising Committee also announced last week that it was looking for a company to rebuild and redesign the official 2012 website.

The longest continous sponsor of the Olympic Games is Coca-Cola, which signed a renewal agreement in 2005 to sponsor the next three Olympic Games starting with Beijing 2008 and including London 2012. The cost of the deal was not disclosed but was thought to be in the region of £60m.

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