SBD/October 2, 2013/Olympics

USOC Won't Make '24 Games Bid Decision Until Late '14 As Body Assesses Feasibility

Blackmun completely rejected the idea of a joint San Diego-Tijuana bid
USOC CEO Scott Blackmun yesterday at the Olympic Media Summit in Park City, Utah, said that the decision on whether to bid for the '24 Games "won't likely be made" until the end of '14, according to Liz Clarke of the WASHINGTON POST. The governing body "is far from deciding whether to go forward with a bid," but if it does, the bid "will turn on three factors." Blackmun: "Can it be financially successful? Can we do a great job putting on the Games? Can we win?" USOC officials yesterday "made clear they only want to campaign for the 2024 Games if they have a strong sense they’ll prevail, given the high-profile rejections" of N.Y. ('12 Games) and Chicago ('16 Games). Blackmun said that the USOC "wouldn’t necessarily cull the field of interested U.S. cities -- believed to be fewer than 10," with L.A., Dallas and DC among them -- "as an initial step." He added, "Ideally we’d like to have the decision made by the end of 2014, and a city selected. We’re not in any huge hurry right now" (WASHINGTON POST, 10/2). Blackmun said that the decision on whether to bid and the selection of a city "will be made together" by the USOC and potential host cities. In California, Scott Reid notes that approach is "unlike previous bid processes, when the USOC decided to bid for the Games and then potential U.S. host cities went through a process of elimination before a final candidate city was selected." Blackmun: "I don’t think we’ll make that decision until we see which city we would put forward and what the financial structure around that bid would be and what we think of that city’s prospects" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 10/2). Blackmun said of a possible joint San Diego-Tijuana bid, "The chances of a joint San Diego-Tijuana bid are zero. If I could go lower, I would. I don’t think it would be productive to try to get the Olympic charter changed to create a multi-national bid" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 10/2).

STRONG SOCHI SALES: USOC CMO Lisa Baird said that the '14 Sochi Games were "generating more sponsorship interest" than the '10 Vancouver Games. USA TODAY's Kelly Whiteside reports the "reason for the growth is the USOC's decision to focus on marketing stateside, from its Road to Sochi Tour, which will kick off Oct. 29 with a 100-day countdown event" in N.Y. to a nationwide tour with 13 stops. It is the "first time the tour has continued throughout the Games with meet-and-greet athlete autograph sessions, demonstrations and interactive experiences" (USA TODAY, 10/2).

USOC'S STANCE ON ANTI-GAY LAW: USOC leaders said that they "would favor amending the non-discrimination language in the Olympic Charter to include a specific reference to sexual orientation." But in Chicago, Philip Hersh reports the USOC "does not see its mandate include using its influence in an effort to effect change in areas like the anti-gay legislation in Russia." Blackmun: "We are a sports organization ... not an advocacy organization or a human rights organization. We are a part of the worldwide Olympic movement. What we can do is advocate for change within our movement" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 10/2).
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