Samsung, the South Korean electronics giant which has sponsored the series for three years since its inception in 2010, has opted not to renew its deal for the forthcoming season, leaving the world governing body with precious little time to find a replacement before action gets underway.
The title sponsorship deal is believed to have been worth around £3 million a year to the IAAF, who have been forced to make financial cutbacks in recent years to weather the global economic crisis.
However, the IAAF insisted yesterday that the series would not be affected by Samsung’s departure and that it would make up any shortfall in the budget from its own reserves until another commercial partner was found. Until then, the series will be known as the IAAF Diamond League.
Samsung’s decision is a blow to the sport so soon after it enjoyed spectacular exposure at the London Olympics but an IAAF source the company had opted to “cut back on its exposure-driven activities”.
It recently announced an individual endorsement deal with Usain Bolt and continues to sponsor the Olympic Games and Chelsea Football Club.