Seiko, the Japanese watch manufacturer, has renewed its long-running partnership with the IAAF, athletics’ international governing body, by another six years, until 2019.
The company will continue to act as the official timer for the IAAF World Athletics Series, the global series, which includes the showpiece World Championships.
Seiko has been a sponsor of the IAAF since the 1985 World Indoor Games, the precursor of the World Indoor Championships, and first provided timing services at an IAAF World Championships in Rome in 1987.
Shinji Hattori, chairman and group chief executive of Seiko Holdings, said: "We are delighted to renew our IAAF partnership for a further six years. This new long-term agreement allows us the time to work with the IAAF and plan new timing and measurement technologies that will really make a difference to the athletes, the officials and the spectators.
"Athletics is a great sport and we are proud to have supported its development over the past three decades."
The new contract was negotiated by Dentsu, the Japanese advertising agency which is the IAAF’s worldwide marketing partner for the World Athletics Series, and covers the 2015 and 2017 World Championships in Beijing and London, respectively, and the 2019 edition, for which the IAAF is now accepting bids.
As well as the 2019 World Championships, the IAAF is also seeking bidders for the World Youth Championships and World Cross Country Championships in 2017 and the 2018 Continental Cup.
Doha in Qatar, which lost out to London in the bidding for the 2017 World Championships, Durban in South Africa, Melbourne in Australia and a city in USA have all been linked with bids for the 2019 event.
Athletics Kenya announced it will bid to host the 2017 World Youth Championships. The biennial event will be held in Cali, Colombia next year.
The IAAF said it must receive a letter of intent from interested host cities by April 7, after which official bid documentation will be sent out. The completed bid application must be sent to the IAAF by September 22, with the host city announcements to be made at the organisation's general assembly in November.
Meanwhile, the IAAF has announced that its website received record traffic during the three days of competition at the Sopot 2014 World Indoor Championships, which ended on Sunday.
There was a 75-per-cent hike in overall visits and a 173-per-cent increase in unique users when compared with the last championships in Istanbul two years ago.