As expected, the IOC named Ostersund, Sweden; Salt Lake City, Utah; Quebec City; and Sion, Switzerland as the four finalists for the 2002 Winter Games (THE DAILY). Tom Welch, president of the Salt Lake Bid Committee, said yesterday the city would not bid again if "this campaign comes up empty." Welch said the reason would not be for "lack of feeling for the Olympic movement," but rather the fact "that for 10 years now we have drawn on the resources of our community to fund this campaign. ... We'll take a breather. We'll let someone else carry the baton." Salt Lake lost the '98 bid, but is the "favorite" to land the 2002 Games. For the two campaigns, Welch said the bid committee has spent close to $14M in private funds to land the Games. The four finalists now have five months to "make final pitches and entertain visiting IOC representatives before the full IOC elects the winner in Budapest, Hungary on June 16 (Melissa Turner, ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 1/24).
The "struggle" to define Coca-Cola's Olympic role in Atlanta -- "how much or how little it should do, how visible or how subtle its presence" -- is examined by Melissa Turner of the ATLANTA CONSTITUTION. The "indecisive" mood of the company has "clearly created an institutional identity crisis." For example, Coca-Cola has bought 12 acres of downtown real estate next to Olympic Park, "but hasn't decided what to do with it." The company has bought $60M worth of ad time during the Games on NBC "but has yet to create any Olympic TV ads." They are contemplating whether to sponsor the $12M Olympic Torch relay, the three-month pre-Olympic tour of the country. The company would like to follow up on its TV sponsorships of the '94 Super Bowl and the World Cup, but "they don't know what to do with it at the Olympics." The company made a switch in its "leadership of the Olympic team" by hiring Stu Cross to run its Olympic program and serve as VP and Dir of Worldwide sports. Overall, the company is investing a "staggering" $200M in sponsorship fees, advertising, promotions, and hospitality, and it "must make this record investment pay off." Turner writes the company also faces the difficulty of marketing the Games in Atlanta, "the hometown it has been grooming for decades for this debut on the world stage." Cross admits the challenges, adding: "I don't think any company can possibly live up to every individual expectation" (Melissa Turner, ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 1/21).
NationsBank has created the NationsBank Association Olympian Support Program, a "perk which give employees and their spouses time off to train and money to travel to competitions." NationsBank is a corporate sponsor for the '96 Games, and won't reveal how much it is paying to support its employee/athletes. Heidi Gomula, NationsBank VP Sports Marketing: "The program is another opportunity to recognize our associates and it motivates them to get excited about our Olympic sponsorship" (KNIGHT RIDDER, 1/22).