Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Report: IOC, USOC agree
QUEBEC CITY -- International and U.S. Olympic leaders have agreed in principle on a new revenue-sharing deal that would end years of acrimony and clear the way for America to bid again for future games, officials familiar with the negotiations said Tuesday.
Two senior officials told The Associated Press that the International Olympic Committee and U.S. Olympic Committee have come to terms to resolve the long-running dispute over television and marketing revenues that has undermined recent American bids for the games.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal hasn't been announced yet. The proposed agreement -- covering billions of dollars in revenues through 2040 -- is contingent on the endorsement of the governing boards of both the IOC and USOC.
If both back the deal as expected, it could be formally announced during IOC executive board meetings this week in Quebec City. USOC chairman Larry Probst and CEO Scott Blackmun are both coming to Quebec.
Negotiations between the IOC and USOC have been dragging on for more than two years.
At the heart of the dispute is the long-standing contract giving the USOC a 20 percent share of global sponsorship revenue and a 12.75 percent cut of U.S. broadcast rights deals. The IOC believes the U.S. share, set out in an open-ended contract dating back to 1996, is excessive.
Terms of the proposed new agreement have not been disclosed, but any new revenue percentage for the USOC would go into effect after 2020. The IOC has also been pushing to secure millions of dollars in U.S. contributions toward the administrative costs of staging the Olympics, something which would happen right away as part of a new deal.
Lingering international resentment over the U.S. share of revenues was a significant factor in New York's defeat in the bidding for the 2012 Olympics and Chicago's humiliating first-round elimination in the vote for the 2016 Games. The presence of President Barack Obama in Copenhagen to endorse his hometown's bid wasn't enough to avoid the stinging rejection.
The USOC has said repeatedly it will not bid again until the revenue issue is resolved. The U.S. is sitting out the bidding for the 2020 Summer Games.
The U.S. last hosted the Summer Olympics in 1996 in Atlanta and last staged the Winter Games in 2002 in Salt Lake City.
With the agreement, the USOC could now study a possible bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics. Among the U.S. cities that have expressed early interest in bidding for 2022 are Salt Lake City; Denver; Reno-Lake Tahoe, Nevada; and Bozeman, Montana.
The USOC could also decide to focus instead on bidding for the 2024 Summer Games.
"It's good if we have an agreement because this has created difficulties in the relations with USOC," Swiss IOC executive board member Denis Oswald said earlier Tuesday. "If we could put that aside, it would help the relations. It's a very important national Olympic committee with the best athletes. It would be very good if this question be resolved."