USOC pledge to stand by BP sponsorship

Monday, 28 June 2010

June 28 - BP will not be dropped as a $15 million (£9.5 million) sponsor of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), launched by Luc Bardin (pictured), the company's chief sales marketing officer at a ceremony in Vancouver in February, chief executive Scott Blackmun insisted today.

The USOC's Board discussed the situation following the heavy criticism of BP by President Barack Obama after the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico at its regular meeting today and offered its backing to the British company, who are also a £50 million ($78 million) Tier One sponsor of the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.

Blackmun said: "BP, like a lot of other sponsors, has to deal with complex issues and they're dealing with a major issue now.

"Very hopefully, they can get this resolved sooner rather than later, and we're pulling for as quick a solution as possible."

The explosion on April 20 at BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico, which killed 11 people, has led environmentalists and activists to step up their actions and target London institutions backed by BP.

Earlier, activists opposing BP burst into a party at London’s Tate Britain, spilling cans of an oil-like liquid inside and outside the gallery to protest against the company's 20-year sponsorship.

The deal with BP represents between six and seven per cent of the USOC's total annual revenue and chairman Larry Probst admitted that they had looked at the situation.

He said: "The Board is monitoring the situation very carefully."

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