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S.L. AND IOC GET DOWN TO BRASS TACKS: MONEY

SHARE S.L. AND IOC GET DOWN TO BRASS TACKS: MONEY

Everybody wants to make money from the Olympics. But first they have to deal with the International Olympic Committee, which controls the multibillion-dollar empire.

Just how much organizers of the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City and the U.S. Olympic Committee can count on from marketing is already taking up much of this week's IOC Executive Board meeting.The IOC is also disputing reports circulating in the French-language press that the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta will leave behind millions of dollars in debt.

The Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games is not expected to close its books until the end of the year. IOC Director General Francois Carrard said Wednesday there's no indication yet of Atlanta's financial condition.

"We have no figures, either on the table or under the table," Carrard said, adding he was totally surprised by stories claiming Atlanta's budget is in the red.

"Rouge, c'est rouge!" announced the headline in a local French-language newspaper. The accompanying story by a French wire service cited anonymous sources as saying the deficit could reach tens of millions of dollars.

Carrard said there's been no discussion of Atlanta's finances during the Executive Board meeting, which continues through Friday. A report from Atlanta organizers is expected at the board's next meeting in November.

But Carrard was quick to point out that if there does turn out to be a deficit, the IOC isn't going to help cover it. "Contractually, that is not our problem. That is very clear," he said.

The contract that Atlanta signed with the IOC to host the Games makes the city, the organizing committee and the U.S. Olympic Committee responsible for any debts.

USOC Deputy Secretary General John Krimsky said he's confident that Atlanta will be in the black. "I'm not saying it's going to be great news, but I'm expecting good news," he said.

Krimsky said the USOC would also have to help out with any debts left behind by the Salt Lake Organizing Committee. The state of Utah has indemnified Salt Lake City against having to pick up any bills.

Of course, Salt Lake organizers expect to stay in the black. The privately funded committee has steadfastly promised to limit spending to expected revenues, cutting the budget if necessary.

They hope that will prevent the kind of worries Atlanta organizers face. "We hope they come out in the black. Irrespective of that, Salt Lake's approach is different than Atlanta's was," SLOC President Tom Welch said.

Welch and other SLOC officials are here at IOC headquarters to gain approval for a joint marketing agreement with the USOC and to report on other preparations for the 2002 Winter Games.

They're scheduled to appear before the Executive Board Thursday afternoon, but they received some harsh criticism from Dick Pound, an IOC vice president from Canada. Pound complained the negotiations between the USOC and Salt Lake City have taken too long.

"Salt Lake is plugging along. Progress is not as much as we would like to have seen," he said. "These things seem to be proceeding with glacial speed."

It took nearly a year for both side have to agree on the split from the sale of local and national corporate sponsorships. Salt Lake City expects to earn about a quarter of its $1 billion budget from its share.

The USOC is also trying to settle some differences with the IOC over marketing in the United States. After discussions Tuesday and Wednesday with Executive Board members, an agreement in principle was reached.

The terms were not disclosed, but the agreement is expected to help the USOC - and Salt Lake City during the next eight years - profit from the IOC's marketing program.