Jul. 14, 2022

TDK Has Continuously Supported the World Athletics Championships

The championships are now in their 40th year since the first event in 1983
The relentless pursuit of challenges brings about the future

The World Athletics Championships will celebrate their 40th year at the Oregon championships, which will start on July 15. TDK has continuously supported the World Athletics Championships since the very first games in Helsinki in 1983. A Japanese company founded in 1935 for the purpose of commercializing the world’s first ferrite magnetic material and known at the time as Tokyo Denki Kagaku Kogyo has globalized along with the World Athletics Championships. TDK’s desire as a company to create unprecedented value and help the world through the power of technology has led us to support athletics.
Text by Masato Sakai 

TDK has been a special sponsor of the World Athletics Championships since the first event in 1983 and has supported the athletes who ceaselessly tackle the challenges of creating the future. The photo is of the men’s 4 × 100 m relay final at the 2019 Championships in Doha.

The World Athletics Championship Started along with TDK

The year of the first World Athletics Championships, 1983, was also a special year for TDK. This was because shares of Tokyo Denki Kagaku Kogyo had been listed on the New York Stock Exchange one year earlier, the company name was changed to TDK Corporation, and shares were also listed on the London Stock Exchange. This was also when TDK started supporting the World Athletics Championships.

“This was a time when TDK integrated its brand and company name and broke out into the world. We wanted to promote the TDK name and also wanted the excitement of sports to be preserved on video,” says Atsuo Omagari, General Manager of the Corporate Communications Group, Corporate Strategy HQ. Another goal was to increase sales of videotape.

At that time, TDK was engaged in the business of selling cassette tapes, videotapes, and other recording media for sound and video, but now, almost all of the company’s business is BtoB (business to business) targeting corporate customers. The role of advertising has changed considerably from the past, since there is no direct contact with consumers. Despite this, TDK continues to sponsor World Athletics, the international governing body for athletics, and the World Athletics Championships organized by World Athletics. Few companies have continuously supported the world championships of a single athletic organization for such a long period since its inception.

TDK particularly values the World Athletics Championships because, “Our desire to support athletes who continuously challenge themselves and records in an attempt to create the future overlaps with our desire to create unique technology that will create the future and contribute to society,” says Omagari.

TDK is expanded its business through a series of mergers and acquisitions while transferring its once core recording media business to another company to keep up with the times. Today TDK’s electronic components are used in all aspects of daily life and products.

The number of employees has also increased rapidly, and today TDK has approximately 117,000 employees worldwide. TDK is a global enterprise, with less than 10% of its employees in Japan. The TDK company name, which appears on World Athletics Championships number bibs and other items, not only motivates employees working around the world, but also helps to promote the company’s presence to aspiring engineers.

Atsuo Omagari, General Manager of the Corporate Communications Group, Corporate Strategy HQ, explained the TDK corporate philosophy and the significance of TDK’s support for the World Athletics Championships.
The Rising Stars Clinic for junior and senior high school students was launched for the 2017 Championships in London (photo) and will be held this year for the Oregon event.

TDK-Lambda brand power supply products were provided for the LED board behind the starting line of the 100 m race for the Oregon event.

TDK-lambda brand power supply products were provided for the first time for use in the LED board installed behind the starting line of the 100 m race at the Oregon Championships. These products contribute to the operation and staging of the Championships. The photo shows the men’s 100 m race at the Doha Championships.

Initiatives at the Oregon 2022 Championships

Since 2017, TDK has been conducting the Rising Stars Clinic, which is for about 20 junior and senior high school students around the time of the World Athletics Championships. It is a wonderful event conducted and coached by world-class athletes who are currently active. This year’s event in Oregon is scheduled to start on July 19 and will feature local hero Ashton Eaton (34), a former world record holder in the men’s decathlon, as well as other athletes competing in the Oregon Championships.

“This event overlaps with TDK’s communications message ‘Attracting Tomorrow’ and is a unique social contribution activity that provides young people who are trying to create a new future with opportunities to interact with top athletes and be exposed to the world’s greatest challenges. Childhood memories are intense and there is value in direct contact. We hope to create opportunities for them to aspire to become athletes in the future,” says Omagari.

A branding movie titled “Start Believing in Yourself” is currently being shown in the lead up to the Championships. In addition to being shown on large screens in stadium, the movie will also be shown on trains of the Tokyo Metro and Keihanshin JR line in Japan, and a TV commercial is also scheduled to be aired. A new initiative, the “Trailer Caravan,” is also being held this year. Since the United States is “an extremely important base” for TDK, according to Omagari, the caravan started on July 5 and traveled north toward Oregon, visiting TDK’s sites on the West Coast. The caravan is publicizing the World Athletics Championships and TDK with a fair-like atmosphere.

TDK’s electronic components are used in smartphones, PCs, tablets, drones, automobiles and many other items we are familiar with in our daily lives as well as various other things, and if you check the “Discover TDK Around You” page of the company’s website, you can see the scale of their use at a glance. TDK components are used in various places at Hayward Field at the University of Oregon, which is the venue for the World Athletics Championships. Among them, TDK-Lambda brand power supply products will be provided for the first time for use on the LED board installed behind the starting line of the 100 m race track.

“Sports and technology have a very strong affinity. Projection mapping, for example, provide entertainment for spectators and viewers, and the mechanisms that work for replay verification are evolving on a daily basis. I hope that our technology will be of some use to the World Athletics Championships,” says Omagari.

TDK is entered into a contract to support World Athletics and the World Athletics Championships until 2029 and hopes to contribute to the spread and development of the Championships in the future.

“TDK features diversity, with people of various nationalities and backgrounds working within the Group. The World Athletics Championships is a global event that attracts many athletes from around the world, and so there are some similarities between the two. It is a great honor and pleasure to be able to participate in such an event, and we hope to continue providing maximum support in the future,” according to Omagari.

TDK is also sponsoring a new world record program, with a new world record bonus of $100,000 for men’s events and $50,000 for mixed events. This will provide great motivation for the participating athletes.

Number bibs with the TDK logo have been worn by star athletes at the World Athletics Championships. What new heroes will be created in Oregon this year? The World Athletics Championships will continue to develop along with TDK.

At the 2019 Doha Championships, Before the final event concluding the day’s track competitions, the venue was darkened, and the spectacular use of projection mapping to introduce the athletes generated significant buzz. Technology has advanced operation of the Championships.
Hayward Field that the University of Oregon awaits the start of the Championships. What new records will be set and great competition will take place at these World Athletics Championships, which will be held in the United States for the first time?

(Source: Monthly Athletics August 2022)

About TDK

TDK is a comprehensive electronic components manufacturer founded in 1935 to commercialize ferrite, an electromagnetic material.
TDK has been an Official Partner of World Athletics Championships since the first competition held in Helsinki in 1983.