The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) have agreed terms on a new financial accord, an agreement both sides hope will bring an end to the years of simmering antipathy between them.
The deal, which the IOC claim was signed six months before talks on the subject were scheduled to begin, restructures both the TOP sponsorship programme – the highest level of global Olympic association – and the distribution model for the Olympic TV revenues.
The agreement will kick in from 2020, when the next TOP sponsorship cycle expires, and will run for 20 years.
Importantly, it brings the USOC back in from the political cold within the corridors of Olympic power.
"The USOC is an absolutely crucial pillar in the Olympic Movement”, said IOC president Jacques Rogge. “This agreement lays a cornerstone which will provide the foundations for the continued growth of the Movement and our shared values, not just in the United States but around the world," he added.
“This agreement demonstrates the commitment of the United States and the USOC to the worldwide Olympic Movement,” said USOC secretary general Scott Blackmun. “We look forward to working with the IOC, our fellow National Olympic Committees, the International Federations and our national federations to strengthen the Olympic Movement and enhance the resources available for athletes around the globe.”
“This agreement demonstrates the commitment of the United States and the USOC to the worldwide Olympic Movement"
Although specific details on the agreement have not been released, specialist Olympic media outlet insidethegames.com reports that the USOC's share of TOP sponsorship revenue will remain at 20 per cent, while the organisation will have its share of any increase in sponsorship funds cut to 10 per cent.
The USOC's share of the US television rights money meanwhile has been cut from 12.75 per cent to seven per cent on any increases on current deals.
Furthermore, the USOC has agreed to contribute US$15 million in administrative costs to the staging of each Olympics until 2020, and then US$20 million to each Games after that.
The previous agreement was signed in 1996. No other national Olympic committee has a deal such as the USOC's in place. While the USOC takes 20 per cent of the IOC's TOP revenues, the other national Olympic committees share another 20 per cent between them. No other National Olympic Committee takes a share of its market's TV rights fee.
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The special deal has existed over the years as a reflection of the IOC's reliance on US funding. The television deal with NBC, normally worth half of the IOC's total television revenues, is worth US$4.38 billion over the next two Olympiads.
The increasingly successful TOP programme, however, is less and less reliant on US brands. Of the 11 companies currently in the programme, six are US-based.
The political tension between the IOC and the USOC had been seen as an immovable obstacle in the path of a potential US bid to host a future Olympic Games. That "roadblock", according to USOC chairman Larry Probst, has now been removed.