Next year's inaugural European Games is going to be "an extraordinary event" which will be delivered to the "highest standards", promised Baku 2015 commercial director Charlie Wijeratna here today.
Wijeratna made his pledge as the European Olympic Committees Coordination Commission begun its fourth visit to the Azerbaijani capital to inspect preparations for the event, including hearing about how the commercial and marketing side of the Games is going.
Baku 2015, which is due to open on June 12 and last until June 28, has so far signed-up four Tier One and three Tier Two sponsors, including BP, Procter & Gamble and McDonald's.
The final target is to have up to eight Tier One and 12 Tier Two sponsors, Wijeratna told them.
"The sponsorship programme is going really, really well," said Wijeratna, former director of commercial negotiations at London 2012.
"We're very confident that we will reach those numbers with top brands.
"We've been able to persuade people that this is going to be an extraordinary event delivered to the highest operational standards."
Wijeratna also promised the Coordination Commission, led by Greece's Spyros Capralos, that the Games will be broadcast in most of the world, even though they have so far announced only one television deal, leading Turkish sports channel NTV Spor.
Unlike the Olympics, there is no commitment that the Games will be broadcast on free-to-air television and Wijeratna admitted that in a major market, such as Britain, it could be shown on one of the satellite channels, like Sky Sports or BT Sport.
With athletics and swimming, normally among the most popular sports at the Olympics, set to be among the lowest quality on the programme next year, Wijeratna admitted that Baku 2015 will face some struggles engaging the public
"That's my challenge," he said.
"But I'm hopeful that I will be able to solve that problem and persuade people that the other sports are top-class.
"There will be top-class European sport in beautiful venues.
"What's not to like?"
Earlier, after visiting the new Baku Aquatics Centre, which is still under construction and due to be finished next April, and the Heydar Aliyev Arena, which will stage judo, sambo and wrestling, Capralos had helped Azad Rahimov, Azerbaijan's Minister of Youth and Sport and Baku 2015 chief executive, open the organisation's new headquarters.
Also in attendance were four Azerbaijani Olympic champions appointed ambassadors for Baku 2015.
They were Greco-Roman wrestler Farid Mansurov, the Athens 2004 gold medallist; freestyle wrestlers Namig Abdullayev and Togrul Askerov, winners of gold medals at Sydney 2000 and London 2012 respectively; and shooter Zemfira Meftakhatdinova, the Sydney 2000 skeet champion.
The new headquarters are close to the Baku Boulevard, placing the team at the heart of the city and featuring large open-plan spaces and a highly advanced technology environment.
The building has a total capacity of 1,057 people and is approximately 11,000 square metres in size.
It features an auditorium with capacity to accommodate 250 people, three kitchenettes and several meeting rooms per floor, shower facilities and a prayer room.
The Baku 2015 workforce currently stands at a total of 769 employees across 20 directorates.
Of this total, 468 are Azerbaijani nationals, with the remaining 301 international employees coming from 37 different countries..
"Once more, it is an honour to host the EOC Coordination Commission.," said Rahimov.
"The Azerbaijan Government is fully committed to making the first European Games a success and a great experience for the elite athletes of Europe.
"These visits are extremely important milestones on the road to the inaugural European Games and we are looking forward to demonstrating our continued progress across all areas of the organisation over the next two days.
"In recent months, we have made several important and significant steps towards delivery of an event that will unite Europe in a unique celebration of sport."
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