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Volume 24 No. 155

Olympics

     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).