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Home Depot expected to join '02 Games sponsors

With a deal worth as much as $50 million to Olympic organizers and athletes, the Home Depot is expected to join the growing list of sponsors for the 2002 Winter Games this week.

A press conference is scheduled for Thursday to announce an eight-year sponsorship of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee and the U.S. Olympic teams. The Canadian Olympic Association will also participate in the announcement.

The chain of home improvement stores is expected to contribute a total of $20 million to $50 million in cash, goods and services as what organizers are calling a national level sponsor.

An organizing committee revenue report obtained by the Deseret News earlier this year shows that Home Depot is expected to contribute $5 million in goods and services alone.

The deal was made through a joint marketing venture headed by the U.S. Olympic Committee and based in Salt Lake City, known as the Olympic Properties of the United States, or OPUS.

OPUS has already signed contracts worth as much as $100 million - or more - with General Motors, US WEST, Texaco and Seiko. Other likely sponsors include Delta Airlines and Marriott hotels.

The proceeds from these deals are split between the organizing committee and the USOC. Utah's Olympic organizers count on raising about one-fourth of their $1 billion budget from corporate sponsorships.

While exact figures are not released by OPUS, the deals fall into two categories. National level sponsors contribute $20 million to $50 million and benchmark level, $50 million to $100 million.

General Motors signed a deal worth more than $1 billion, the largest ever in sports marketing history. The total included the purchase of commercial time on NBC during Olympic broadcasts and promotional costs.

For that, the company can advertise itself as the official automotive sponsor of both the 2002 Winter Games and the U.S. Olympic teams through the 2008 Summer Games.

This is the first time that an Olympic organizing committee and the USOC have teamed up to sell sponsorships together, to support both the Games and every U.S. Olympic team through 2004 or beyond.

Home Depot, which is based in Atlanta, was a major sponsor of the 1996 Summer Games there. The company has also been a sponsor of the U.S. Olympic teams.