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Volume 24 No. 160

Olympics

          David D'Alessandro, President & COO of TOP Olympic
     sponsor John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance, said that the
     IOC must "extend its investigation of irregular bidding
     practices beyond" Salt Lake City and the 2002 Games,
     according to Jere Longman of the N.Y. TIMES.  D'Alessandro:
     "If they fail to do that and something else comes up, the
     rings won't be tarnished, they'll be broken."  If the IOC
     investigates other games, they "will stay ahead of the
     curve."  But D'Alessandro said, "If they attempt to simply
     line up 12 I.O.C. members and shoot them and think they can
     go back to Switzerland, they're wrong. ... Boardrooms will
     shake if this is mishandled.  That includes NBC's boardroom"
     (N.Y. TIMES, 1/13).  The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Pope, Beatty
     & Fatsis report that the Salt Lake scandal has prompted some
     ad execs "to clamor for ad-price concessions" from NBC. 
     D'Alessandro said he would like a "morals clause" inserted
     in the company's deal "allowing him to renegotiate should
     further scandals emerge or the IOC bungle its own probe." 
     NBC said it is "still solidly" behind the Games, but the net
     has "just decided to pull the Olympic rings off its network
     news shows."  On Friday, the net sent a memo to affils
     telling them that, "until further notice, during network
     news programming the Olympic rings would be removed from the
     NBC logo that appears in the corner of TV screens."  The
     rings will remain on-screen during sports and entertainment
     programming.  On the ad front, NBC spokesperson Maria
     Battaglia said, "There's been absolutely no impact on our
     Olympic advertising, and we don't expect any."  But Starcom
     Media President Bob Brennan said, "I wouldn't buy it now. 
     I'd wait until the last minute and try and get a better
     deal" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 1/13).
          RESEARCH: D'Alessandro said John Hancock will survey
     consumers to gauge the scandal's impact on the Games.  If
     data shows a turn in public sentiment toward the Games,
     Hancock "might downplay its Olympic ties" (USA TODAY, 1/13).
          NEW BRAND CAMPAIGN: AD AGE's Wayne Friedman reports
     that the IOC is "formulating its most ambitious branding
     campaign ever, a global effort valued" at $150M to promote
     the 2000 Summer Games.  The IOC's GA-based marketing rep,
     Meridian Management, will "draw up a list of creative
     agencies" to "pitch for the campaign."  The IOC will also
     "seek to impose stricter creative standards on Olympic
     sponsors to avoid consumer perception that the Games are
     overcommercialized."  It wants a "say in the way sponsors
     incorporate Olympic ideals, such as unity and fair play." 
     Currently, IOC guidelines "mostly are concerned with the
     size and placement" of the Olympic rings (AD AGE, 1/11).

          The IOC has "completed its investigation of bribery
     charges" involving Salt Lake City's 2002 Olympic bid and "is
     ready to expel members when the report is released" on
     January 24, according to Mike Gorrell of the SALT LAKE
     TRIBUNE.  The AP is reporting that "at least" eight IOC
     members "are in danger of being expelled when investigation
     details are released."  The SLOC's ethics panel is "not
     finished with its probe" and no timetable has been announced
     as to when it will be completed (SALT LAKE TRIBUNE, 1/13).  
          STEP FORWARD? In Denver, Bruce Finley reports that the
     IOC report is also expected to include recommendations to
     change the bidding process for the Games. This had USOC
     "leaders confident, for the moment, that they are moving
     beyond a potentially devastating ethical blotch."  In
     addition, the USOC announced that it is going to "increase
     oversight" of U.S. cities competing for the Games.  USOC
     President Bill Hybl: "It's possible that the USOC would even
     place a USOC staff member on the staff of the bid committee"
     (DENVER POST, 1/13).  Hybl: "Will future bid cities see more
     of the USOC?  The answer is yes" (BOSTON GLOBE, 1/13).
          WALK WITH JUAN: The bribery scandal led ABC's "World
     News Tonight," with Peter Jennings reporting that it is
     "seriously undermining the next Winter Olympic Games. ...
     Every day, the Olympics and some of the people who run them
     are under attack."  UT Gov. Mike Leavitt: "The IOC needs to
     come to the table here.  They need to participate in a
     bigger way now in ensuring that these Games are successful.
     ... In every way."  ABC's Tom Foreman said the IOC has
     "shown no inclination to kick in more funding or renegotiate
     with sponsors" ("World News Tonight," ABC, 1/12). Despite
     some calls for the resignation of IOC President Juan Antonio
     Samaranch, IOC Exec VP Anita DeFrantz told USA TODAY's Mike
     Dodd that Samaranch is "a good president and has done an
     excellent job for the Olympics.  He should and will stay in
     office until he concludes his mandate in 2001" (USA TODAY,
     1/13).  IOC Exec VP Dick Pound said the Games will remain in
     Salt Lake City: "Salt Lake has cleaned house and the IOC is
     cleaning house" (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 1/13).
          MASCOTS ARE PEOPLE, TOO, AREN'T THEY? Due to the
     negative publicity around the 2002 Games, the SLOC has
     postponed its February 8 unveiling of the new mascots for
     the Games. A new date will be announced next month.  SLOC
     Senior VP/Communications Shelley Thomas: "This is not the
     appropriate time.  Our mascots should receive the positive
     attention they deserve" (SALT LAKE TRIBUNE, 1/13).