SBD/Issue 161/Olympics

USOC CEO Expects No Change In BP Sponsorship Amid Recent Oil Spill

Blackmun Sees No Indication BP
Sponsorship Could Be In Jeopardy

USOC CEO Scott Blackmun "sees no immediate change in the federation's multimillion-dollar sponsorship deal with BP PLC in the aftermath of the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico," according to Eddie Pells of the AP. BP earlier this year signed on as a major USOC sponsor, and said that the Olympic movement's "commitment to environmental issues gave it a perfect platform to promote is own green initiatives." The partnership now "puts the USOC in an awkward situation," as it is connected with a company "involved in an environmental disaster on U.S. shores." But Blackmun said that he "sees no indication that the sponsorship could be in jeopardy." Blackmun last met with BP officials on April 21 during the U.S. Olympic team's visit to DC to "celebrate its success at the Vancouver Olympics." That meeting was a "day after the explosion" of a BP oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, and "before the full scope of the tragedy had unfolded." Blackmun yesterday said, "All our sponsors are big, complex organizations. They all have issues they need to face from time to time and this is an example of one of those issues" (AP, 5/3).

SPONSOR SEARCH: AROUND THE RINGS' Reaves & Steinberg noted the signing of another TOP sponsor for the IOC "could smooth the way for the IOC and USOC to agree on how much the USOC should chip in for Games-related costs, the first element in their controversial revenue-sharing deal." IOC Coordination Commission Chair Denis Oswald indicated that the USOC is "trying to help the IOC sign another TOP sponsor." He said, "If this comes to a positive conclusion, that would mean more money and it would be easier for [the] USOC to accept our last counter-proposal, because having more money, they would be able to pay us something without cutting too much of their budget." Oswald told the IOC Exec Board that the situation "should be clarified in the next few weeks." He also said that it is "easier to work with the USOC's new leadership," Blackmun and Chair Larry Probst, than with former Chair Peter Ueberroth, who "vigorously defended the USOC's right to its revenue share" (, 5/2)

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