The IOC has published its financial figures for 2017 ©Intel

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) incurred a deficit of $117.2 million ((£84.7 million/€95.6 million) on revenue of $523.4 million (£378.4 million/€427.1 million) in 2017.

After adjustments, the body has reported a total comprehensive loss for the year of just over $99 million (£71.6 million/€80.8 million).

The loss is of limited significance because it was a non-Games year.

If there was a figure that jumped out of the pages of the IOC’s combined financial statements it was the $493.2 million (£356.6 million/€402.5 million) of revenue attributed to the TOP worldwide sponsorship programme.

This was up from nearly $410 million (£296 million/€335 million) in 2016, but - much more interestingly - from just $141.5 million (£102.3 million/€115.4 million) at the same stage in the last four-year Olympic cycle in 2013.

Sponsorship revenue is soon expected to exceed money the IOC earns from broadcasting ©Alibaba
Sponsorship revenue is soon expected to exceed money the IOC earns from broadcasting ©Alibaba

It has long been expected that sponsorship would take over from broadcasting as the Olympic Movement’s main growth engine in the 2017-2020 quadrennium, with the TOP programme’s value rising from $1 billion (£723 million/€816 million) to perhaps as much as $2 billion (£1.45 billion/€1.63 billion).

However, the growth rate implied by this first-year figure is not far off 250 per cent.

In the unlikely event that were maintained over a full cycle, it would yield a 2017-2020 total of well over $3 billion (£2.2 billion/€2.5 billion).

Part of the reason for the unexpectedly big jump compared with the 2013 figure may lie in the small print.

Accounts for 2014 state that the cash element of TOP revenues is recorded "in the period the instalments become due", with part of the value-in-kind element recognised "on a linear basis".

By 2017, this had been changed such that part of the value-in-kind was recognised "in the period the goods or services are rendered", with the cash element now recorded “on a linear basis”.

It seems possible that this might have resulted in a higher proportion of revenues related to 2017-2020 sponsorship contracts being taken into account in their first year.

The position should become clearer when the current year’s accounts are published.

For now, the most sensible assumption is that, while cycle-on-cycle growth in TOP-related revenue will indeed be impressive in 2017-2020, $2 billion (£1.45 billion/€1.63 billion) should continue to be regarded as the likely top of the range - although any further deals, covering only part of the quadrennium, might yet change this.

Notes to last year’s document suggest that the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) was allocated $91.6 million (£66.2 million/€74.7 million) of TOP programme revenue in 2017, compared with $77.9 million (£56.3 million/€63.6 million) for other National Olympic Committees (NOCs).

Costs to operate the Olympic Channel rose in 2017 to more than $73 million ©IOC
Costs to operate the Olympic Channel rose in 2017 to more than $73 million ©IOC

The figures also indicated that the cost of the Olympic Channel had risen from $63.6 million (£46 million/€51.9 million) in 2016 to $73.1 million (£52.9 million/€59.6 million).

Bank borrowings at 31 December 2017 were put at $38.5 million (£27.8 million/€31.4 million), up from $8.8 million (£6.4 million/€7.2 million).

The accounts explain that the IOC has "contracted a loan" up to a maximum CHF120 million ($127.7 milliom/£92.4 million/€104.3 million) to finance construction of its new headquarters.

As a security, CHF40 million ($42.6 milliom/£30.8 million/€34.8 million) of the Olympic Foundation’s assets are pledged in favour of the bank.

Borrowing costs were “recognised at the rate of 1.46 per cent”.

Tangible fixed assets of $61 million (£44 million/€49.8 million) were listed as construction in progress at 31 December 2017, up from $22.5 million (£16.3 million/€18.4 million) a year earlier.