DID NIKE WORLD MASTERS GAMES "FALL SHORT OF EXPECTATIONS"?
Organizers predict that the Nike World Masters Games
will finish with an operating "deficit of about" $500,000,
according to Jeff Manning of the Portland OREGONIAN, who
wrote, "Although disappointing, the shortfall is a
relatively modest sum for an organization that for months
danced on the edge of a financial precipice." The "low
point" for the Games came in March, when, according to three
World Masters Games board members, the event's primary
lender, U.S. Bancorp, "demanded that the organization repay
its three-months' overdue loan, reportedly between" $800,000
and $1M. Manning wrote that the organization struggled with
a "revenue crunch brought on by disappointing athlete
participation and slow sponsorship sales," and that the
Games' "numerous financial challenges led to tension"
between the Games' board and its CEO Doug Single.
Organizers also said they found that Nike's presence as
title sponsor of the event "hampered other sponsorship
sales." Single said that he was "convinced" that
traditional Olympic sponsors turned down the World Games
"because of Nike's presence." Single: "They said no, and
they said no in a major way." Manning added that the "good
news for the Games' suppliers and lenders" is that the
organizing committee "appears to have the resources to pay
off the bulk of its obligations" (Portland OREGONIAN, 8/27).
THE BUZZ: In Portland, Rachel Bachman wrote that some
athletes and sponsors said the event "fell short of their
expectations and of officials' plans." Bachman: "The short
answer is money -- or lack of it. Lagging registrations led
to a cash shortage, which forced Games organizers to cut
back on everything" (Portland OREGONIAN, 8/27).
THE NIKE FACTOR: Bachman wrote that because Nike was
the event's title sponsor, paying $500,000 for that right,
"many athletes mistakenly blame" organizers for the "event's
shortcomings. Some athletes said they planned to boycott
Nike." Cyclist & Bowler Ivanna Teneycke: "If I had any Nike
stock, I'd sell it." Nike Dir of Global Community Affairs
Doug Stamm: "We've put considerably more money and time and
personnel to these Games than would ever be expected for a
similar sponsorship" (Portland OREGONIAN, 8/27).