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Volume 26 No. 230
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USOPC Sponsor Asking Endorsers To Give Back If Games Are Altered

New USOPC team sponsor Eli Lilly & Co. is asking potential Team USA athlete endorsers to give back some of their fees if the Tokyo Games are canceled or postponed beyond its contract term, according to sources. While some decrease in payment is not unreasonable given the widespread virus-related disruption, the company can expect resistance to major givebacks. The request sits at the heart of the dilemma facing Olympic marketers right now. Most Olympic-sport athletes generate almost all of their commercial value during the Games’ two-week window, but the heavy promotional season would start in the next few weeks. An established Olympian might still yield great benefits for a brand -- particularly a health care one right now -- in the coming months even if the Games ultimately are delayed. Olympic deals typically include bonuses for making the team and medaling on top of firm base payments. Lilly signed its one-year deal with U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Properties just last month, so its athlete deals are coming together during the virus scare. Lilly is looking for athletes whose families have been affected by migraines, psoriasis, diabetes or breast cancer.