POSTED: December 11th 2008

IOC looks for USOC compromise

Jacques Rogge: discussions ongoing /
Jacques Rogge: discussions ongoing /

LAURA WALDEN / Sports Features Communications

TAMPA/LAUSANNE: IOC President Jacques Rogge is optimistic that the US Olympic Committee and the IOC will reach a compromise with the revenue-sharing issue which has been looming over the Chicago bid for the 2016 Games.

The USOC receives an extra slice of the Olympic financial cake because of the size of the Top sponsor and television rights revenues generated by the United States market. This adds up to 12.75pc of TV rights fees and 20pc of marketing income.

The current worldwide financial crisis means these percentages are gaining in significance with some of the smaller national Olympic committees and international federations which are feeling the bite of the economic recession. The impact of these issues is confronting many voting IOC members and obviously will impact their decision on the 2016 bid vote.

“We are continuing to discuss, have technical working groups working together and even early in January there will be discussions,” said Rogge Thursday after IOC executive board meetings in Lausanne.

Working group

He said there will be also be a meeting of the 'Troika' - or tripartite working group - composed of IOC marketing commission chairman, Gerhard Heiberg, Mario Vazquez-Rana on behalf of the NOCs and Denis Oswald on behalf of the international sports federations.

They are set to meet the US Olympic Committee leadership in the first quarter of next year.

In an effort to resolve the issue sooner rather than later Rogge said: “We definitely will propose to the USOC to hopefully finalize the discussions during the IOC executive board meeting in Denver, Colorado at the end of March.” The IOC board meets March 25-27.

New USOC chairman Larry Probst recently mentioned that he hopes to meet Rogge "in the near future."

Rogge added: “We have received official confirmation by the USOC that the person in charge of the negotiations is Peter Ueberroth. This has been announced by the USOC some time ago and it is not up to me to discuss what role Mr Probst will play or not.”

The IOC has also decided to float negotiations for US TV rights to the 2014 and 2016 Games only in a more buoyant economic panorama. The sale of the US TV rights in the past has brought in a significant part of the IOC’s revenue stream amassing a hefty $2.5 billion for the 2005-2008 time period.

Normally TV rights are negotiated before the election of a host city however the impact of fading advertising revenues means the decision has been postponed indefinitely.

Dwindling advertising

Rogge explained: “We are awaiting the best economic circumstances to negotiate because clearly TV advertising is dwindling in economic size. So we are waiting for the ideal time to negotiate and we can wait as long as needed.

“If the economic situation evolves fast that could be before the Session in Copenhagen in October. If that is not the case we will wait longer.”

The vote on the 2016 host city is set for October 2 at the IOC Session in the Danish capital; cities vying for the Games are Chicago, Madrid, Rio, and Tokyo.

If the 2016 Games were to go to the US with a Chicago win it is very likely that American networks would be inspired to throw more bidding dollars into the Olympic arena.

Rogge reiterated that the IOC remains neutral on the choice of the host city. He said:, “I know my IOC colleagues too well and the vote that they take will be for sporting issues and not on financial issues; that won’t affect the vote.”

Ironically, of course, all this puts even more pressure on the USOC to resolve the revenue-sharing deal at the heart of a vicious circle.

Keywords · IOC · USOC · Jacques Rogge · Larry Probst · Peter Ueberroth

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