POSTED: March 26th 2009

Chicago cash relief in view

Patrick Ryan and Bob Ctvertlik: singing from the same promotional hymn sheet / lake images
Patrick Ryan and Bob Ctvertlik: singing from the same promotional hymn sheet / lake images

KEIR RADNEDGE / Sports Features Communications

DENVER: Chicago bid leaders are hoping for an imminent end to the revenue sharing row which has blighted their bid to host the Olympic Games in 2016.

The US receives around 13 per cent of TV rights and 20pc of global marketing proceeds from the Games, an open-ended agreement generating resentment which had been potentially damaging to Chicago.

However hints that the International Olympic Committee and the USOC are on the brink of reaching some sort of compromise have brightened the city's prospects in the four-way duel with Madrid, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo.

“We have had very productive talks all through this week,” said Bob Ctvrtlik, Chicago vice-chairman for international relations who is also, coincidentally, first vice-president, international, for the USOC.

“It’s been an exciting opportunity, we think, for the IOC to interact with the new leadership of the USOC. I’m cautiously optimistic we’ll come to a resolution to this tomorrow or in the near future. I’m looking forward to hearing what [IOC] president Jacques Rogge has to say tomorrow.”

It is understood the compromise could involve some interim agreement on the US contribution towards Games organisational expenditure as a goodwill gesture ahead of a renegotiation of the contentious 1996 contract.

Whether that will be enough to defuse international antagonism remains open to doubt.

Earlier, six months ahead of the IOC vote in Copenhagen on October 2, all four bid cities made 20-minute presentations to more than 1,000 representatives of international sport at Sportaccord.

Finance disparity

The one sharp difference between Chicago and the other three was the Illinois team’s lack of financial focus. Representatives of Madrid, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo all addressed the worldwide economic downturn by stressing the security of their own finance sources and government guarantees.

Chicago did not.

Bid president Patrick Ryan explained this away as a matter of audience and context. He said: “We felt we were making a presentation to people of sport. There were some IOC voting members in the room but we didn’t feel that going into the financial would have been an appropriate use of our 20 minutes.

“What we wanted to convey was that we in the United States and Chicago really want to welcome the world to the US – and this wasn’t the audience before whom to go through the financial details.

“It’s well-known that the US government involvement is restricted to security and transport infrastructure and not to [financial] guarantees. It’s not lost on us that it was smart for the others to put up their financials. Ours are in the bid book but not up front.”

Ctvrtlik echoed Ryan’s confidence in the presentation’s structure.

He said: “Of course we’ve looked closely at the numbers, we know what the IOC requires and that the evaluation committee next month will come away saying: ‘Chicago can do this, these are people we can trust and who can help the Olympic movement further its objectives.’

“Trust, friendliness, a welcoming atmosphere and the enthusiasm of the public will be the things they come away with.”

And, hopefully by then, peace on the international financial front.

Keywords · USOC · IOC · Chicago · 2016 · Olympic Games · Ryan · Ctvrtlik

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