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ACOG announced yesterday Merrill Lynch & Co. will become an official sponsor of the '96 Games and the '96 U.S. Olympic Team in the broker/dealer securities, investment advisory services and investment banking categories. Past Merrill Lynch Olympic involvement was as a sponsor of the U.S. Olympic Team during the '88-92 quadrennium. Presently, Merrill Lynch Exec VP/Private Client Group John Streffens is Chair of the USOC's National Finance Committee (ACOG). On the timing of the deal -- just about four months away from the start of the '96 Games -- a Merrill Lynch spokesperson said, "We still have plenty of time to enjoy the benefits and capitalize on it" (THE DAILY).
In bidding for the '98 Games, the city of Nagano promised to "bear the transportation, meals and lodging expenses of all the delegations." Japanese officials now say soaring costs prohibit them from paying these expenses (N.Y. TIMES, 3/21)....The USOC has identified the Twin Cities, along with San Antonio and Salt Lake City, as the first locations of Olympic development centers intended to "groom" intermediate level athletes (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 3/19)....The UT Dept. of Transportation believes a proposed reconstruction of I-15 in Salt Lake Valley can be completed for 2002 (SALT LAKE TRIBUNE, 3/21)....Bill Moss, Managing Dir of Olympic Construction, on safety concerns after another construction accident this week: "All the incidents are unrelated. There is no real tie to them other than the fact that they're all facilities being used to host the Olympic Games" ("Today," NBC, 3/21).
Pontiac execs are "considering" an Olympic soccer tie-in for an estimated $2M dealer-marketing effort behind the '97 Grand Prix in five southeastern cities, according to BRANDWEEK. Separate from GM's corporate sponsorship, this plan would link Pontiac directly to men's and women's U.S. soccer teams for promotional programs during the '96 Games. Pontiac dealers in Athens, GA, Birmingham, AL, Orlando, FL, Washington, DC, and Miami, FL, would receive corporate support in the form of sales incentives, co-op ads and signage near stadiums hosting Olympic soccer. Steve Gelsi notes Pontiac could also use the promotion to reach the "soccer-friendly" Hispanic market (BRANDWEEK, 3/18 issue).