May 24 - United States Olympic Committee (USOC) chairman Larry Probst believes that a "roadblock" has now been removed from a successful American bid for the Olympic and Paralympic Games after his organisation announced here today that they have reached a deal with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on their high profile revenue-sharing dispute following years of negotiations.
Under the previous deal, which was set out in an open-ended contract in 1996, the USOC received a 20 per cent share of global sponsorship revenue and a 12.75 per cent share of US broadcast rights deals, which the IOC believe was too excessive.
The new deal, which will begin in 2020 and run for 20 years, will see the USOC retain their 20 per cent share of global sponsorship revenue but have its share of US broadcast rights deals cut to seven per cent on any increases in broadcast deals.
The USOC's marketing share has also been cut in half to 10 per cent on increases in sponsorship revenue.
In addition, the USOC has agreed to contribute to the administrative costs of staging the Games and they will provide $15 million (£9.5 million/€12 million) through 2020 and $20 million (£13 million/€16 million) after 2020.
The new deal also covers issues related to ownership of Olympic rights, trademarks and historic TV footage.
Although the deal has seen the USOC make financial concessions, it has dramatically strengthened their relationship with the IOC after years of hostility between the pair.
This was illustrated when the IOC eliminated New York's bid for 2012 Games in the second round of voting and then humiliated Chicago by axing them in the first round in the race to host the 2016 Olympics and Paralympics.
But the agreement means that an American bid now stands a major chance of winning the Games and the USOC are set to start discussing a bid for either the 2022 Winter Games or 2024 Summer Games in the near future.
"I think it is premature to talk about the strategy [in terms of bidding for the Olympics and Paralympics]," Probst said here at a joint IOC/USOC press conference here at SportAccord.
"But we hope that this has removed a roadblock from a successful bid from the United States.
"I would like to thank President Rogge and his colleagues at the IOC who worked so diligently over the course of the last year and a half to find a solution that works for all parties.
"I can confidently say that we have accomplished that goal and have set the stage for a much more collaborative relationship going forward."
IOC President Jacques Rogge, sitting alongside Probst, also expressed his delight.
"This is a very happy moment for the IOC and the USOC," said Rogge.
"The USOC is an absolutely crucial pillar in the Olympic Movement.
"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."
The agreement, signed six months prior to the date that negotiations were originally scheduled to begin, was finally concluded when IOC director general Christophe De Kepper travelled to Washington last week to meet with USOC chief executive Scott Blackmun.
It was there that the final details were agreed and both De Kepper and Blackmun then received full backing from their respective Executive Boards.
Puerto Rico's Richard Carrion, chairman of the IOC Finance Commission, and Norway's Gerhard Heiberg, head of the Marketing Commission, also played key roles in the deal.
"We made financial concessions but I think we made them in a way that will still allow us to provide the same level of support to our athletes," Blackmun told insidethegames.
"But it demonstrates the commitment of the United States and the USOC to the worldwide Olympic Movement.
"In terms of a bid, this removes a barrier.
"I think it would have been difficult for us to mount a successful bid while this was still hanging over our heads but now it has gone.
"So now I think we can have an open discussion and make the best decision for the United States.
"We will definitely brief our Board on everything and then think about a strategy with them in terms of moving forward."
De Kepper also praised the deal.
"With this agreement, we can both look to the future and continue to support our common aims," he said.
"It's a tribute to the leadership team of the USOC that we have reached this deal ahead of schedule with a deal that underpins a crucial partnership."
The announcement will now spark a flurry of speculation about where the next American bid will come from.
Denver has been touted as a 2022 Winter Games American candidate but the 2024 Summer Games appears like a more likely target for the USOC.
Los Angeles, New York and Chicago are just some of the cities thought to be interest in staging the event.
Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]
Pictures by Aleksandra Sersniova
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