1:49 PM CDT, July 22, 2011
While the U.S. Olympic Committee continued to make progress in its revenue sharing discussions with the International Olympic Committee in meetings Thursday and Friday, the lack of a resolution reduced the already small chances of a U.S. bid for the 2020 Summer Olympics.
The IOC deadline for 2020 bids is Sept. 1.
After this week's meetings in New York, in which some undisclosed new ideas were thrown into the mix, both sides agreed to wait until the first week of August for further talks on the issue. That leaves almost no time before the deadline.
"We don't want to submit a bid that is less than world class," USOC chief executive Scott Blackmun said by telephone Friday. "If we rushed, it might not be that. But I never want to say never.''
The U.S. would be much better off bidding for the 2022 Winter Olympics, for which Denver, Reno-Tahoe and 2002 host Salt Lake City have expressed preliminary interest. Those bids would not be due until 2013, allowing for a thorough domestic bid process.
"We haven't thought about what a (domestic) 2022 bid process might look like,'' Blackmun said. "If we are far enough along (in resolving the revenue-sharing issue), we will begin thinking about it."
Blackmun has maintained there would not be another U.S. bid for the Olympics until a solution was found for the revenue-sharing issue.
Since 2006, the USOC has been under pressure to take a smaller share of the IOC's global sponsorship revenues and U.S. broadcast rights. Under the current agreements, which are open-ended, the USOC gets 12.75 percent of the U.S. television rights and 20 percent of the global sponsorship.
The issue has became such a flashpoint that it helped undermine the New York bid for the 2012 Olympics and the Chicago bid for 2016.
"I don't know if we are closer to a resolution after this meeting, but some new ideas surfaced," Blackmun said. "There was a lot of optimism that these ideas will help us get to the finish line.
"We both need to do our due diligence to make sure we understand the consequences of the new things we are thing about."
Both sides have agreed not to discuss any of the particulars under consideration.
As the revenue-sharing discussions turned into heated arguments in 2008 and 2009, those who demanded a U.S. share reduction repeatedly cited the "fact" that the U.S. received as much from the global sponsorship and TV revenues as the other 204 national Olympic Committees combined.
The truth is otherwise, as became clear when the IOC released its most recent U.S. tax filing (Form 990).
That showed in 2010 the U.S. received approximately $133 million, the other Olympic committees $204 million.
The USOC theoretically gets the same share (20 percent) of the global sponsorship as the rest of the world, but that number can't be taken at face value because the U.S. has agreed to lower percentages in some product categories.
It's just easier for the rest of the world to cast the issue in a light that makes the U.S. look like a spoiled rich brat than to do the math.
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