USOC chief Probst unworried about delays in finalising IOC revenue-sharing deal
Monday, 14 May 2012
May 14 - United States Olympic Committee (USOC) chairman Larry Probst has claimed that he is unconcerned about complaints the revenue-sharing agreement with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is taking so long to complete – because it is one of the most important deals in his organisation's history.
The USOC currently receives a 20 per cent share of global sponsorship revenue and a 12.75 per cent share of US broadcast rights deals but many international officials, including the IOC, think it is too big a portion.
The issue has caused huge tension between the IOC and USOC in the past with America still recovering from the humiliation three years ago of seeing Chicago eliminated in the first round of voting for the 2016 Olympics and Paralympics, which was awarded to Rio de Janeiro.
It came after New York's bid for 2012 also faltered, with London eventually awarded the Games, and America sat out the bid campaign for the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, declaring that they will not bid for the Games again until they have reached an agreement over revenue sharing.
"We are signing a relatively long-term arrangement with the IOC, and it is really, really important that we get this right and secure the financial future of the USOC and our athletes," Probst (pictured below, left alongside Scott Blackmun) said here at the USOC Media Summit.
"So if it feels like it is taking too long, so be it.
"It is more important that we get it right."
USOC chief executive Scott Blackmun also said that he makes no apologies for being cautious over the issue with the media.
"We made an agreement with the IOC that we wouldn't talk about any of the specifics of our discussion in the media and we really do want to stick with that," he said.
"The last thing we want to do is break our promise on that.
"There have been a lot of reports in the media saying that we just need to get it done because it isn't that complicated."
But he insisted: "Well, it really is complicated for many reasons.
"We want to be a contributing and engaged part of the worldwide Olympic Movement, and we need the finances to do that.
"Unfortunately revenue sharing contributed to the bad results we saw with the New York bid [in 2012] and with the Chicago bid [in 2016].
"But, at the same time, if we make financial concessions that is going to impact America's athletes.
"So what we really want to do is try and restructure our relationship with the IOC in a way that is fair to both sides but also fair to our athletes."
Blackmun continued: "It is a complicated endeavour and that is why the discussions are in their sixteenth or seventeenth month at this point.
"But I can tell you that we continue to make progress.
"We haven't gone backwards at any point in the discussions and I think we are much closer now than we were when we started in January 2011.
"I am hopeful, in the not too distant future, that we will have some positive news."
April 2012: "We needed more global orientation" admit USOC
October 2011: Exclusive - We will bid for Olympics again when we resolve revenue-sharing says USOC chief
July 2011: Exclusive - IOC and US deal close on revenue sharing
June 2011: NBC retain US Olympic television rights after multi-billion dollar deal
September 2010: IOC and USOC reach agreement on financial settlement in revenue sharing row