Wasserman Says His Company Won't Handle Sponsor Sales For Potential L.A. Games
Wasserman Chair & CEO Casey Wasserman is leading L.A.’s '24 Olympic bid, but he said his agency will not have an inside track in handling the Games’ sponsorship sales, which are projected to come close to $2B. "Wasserman isn’t in the sponsorship sales business,” he said on a panel at the '17 CAA World Congress of Sports. “Believe me, of all the things I would do to make money, chairing this bid on a volunteer basis is definitely not one of them, nor for my company. I’m very proud to be a volunteer. I’m doing this because I love the Olympic movement.”
WORKING WITH THE GOVERNMENT: Wasserman and USOC CEO Scott Blackmun agreed that the L.A. bid’s prospects did not change when President Trump took office. “We started this process and there was one president,” Wasserman said. “There may be another one when we finish this process. Those things come and go, as in every country. We are one step removed from being a political entity. We think that’s a good thing. Sports and politics don't usually mix very well, so we try to avoid that.” Wasserman said that Trump “has been incredibly supportive,” but added that his group has been engaged with the U.S. government since before Trump was elected. “Through a change in the president, we have stayed consistent with mostly the same people. We will continue that until we host the games,” he said. Blackmun told a story about a recent competition USA Archery hosted in Las Vegas. “On less than a week’s notice, we were able to get 22 Iranian archers into the country because we had the full cooperation and support of Homeland Security and State,” he said. “Our government is really supportive of this initiative.”
THERE ARE ALWAYS ISSUES: With the '18 Games in PyeongChang, South Korea, Blackmun compared North Korea’s nuclear weapons testing to concerns over water quality at the Rio Games and terrorism and gay rights legislation in Sochi, Russia. “I would be lying if I told you I hadn’t thought about it,” he said. “Our job is to make sure that we inform our team, that we travel our team over there and that we provide them with the best possible chance of stepping on the medal stand. We have a great relationship with the State Department and the U.S. government. It’s really going to be up to them to advise us how we can operate in the safest possible manner.”
* Wasserman said, “If you want to get rid of traffic in L.A., you either make every day a Jewish holiday or you have the Olympics.”
SELECTION SHOW: SBJ/SBD's Ben Fischer and Abe Madkour discuss the big decisions facing the IOC at its September meeting. Does the Olympic body award both the '24 and '28 Games simultaneously, and if so, does Paris or L.A. go first?