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Olympic officials have announced they will accept American Express and Mastercard for purchase of Olympic tickets by telephone, according to the ATLANTA CONSTITUTION. While Visa is trying to keep box offices closed to those carrying AmEx, Visa's agreement with ACOG states Visa is the exclusive card for ticket sales, except telephone sales. With $422M projected in ticket sales, ACOG did not want to limit the market for the 4 million tickets still in its inventory. Visa has asked for a "negotiating" session with ACOG officials Friday to talk about ways to handle potential ambush marketing opportunities for Visa competitors. ACOG Ticket Chief Scott Anderson: "We'll be happy to listen. We want to support our sponsors whenever we can. In the same breadth, we want to make sure our customers can purchase Olympic tickets with any payment means possible" (Melissa Turner, ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 1/10).
Nagano Winter Olympics organizers officially launched their "official supplier" program Wednesday in order to help secure sufficient funds for the '98 Winter Games. NAOC and the JOC started the program to cover fund shortages from their "Gold Sponsors" program. Under the new program, each official supplier will offer a maximum of 700 million yen for lesser rights than "Gold Sponsors" (KYODO NEWS, 1/10).