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Volume 27 No. 10
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USOPC Unsuccessful In Lobbying Congress For NGBs Bailout Funding

The USOPC unsuccessfully lobbied Congress for $200M in bailout funding for NGBs as part of the economic relief package struck by lawmakers early today, sources said. In the request, estimated total losses from the cancellation of domestic events during the coronavirus pandemic and the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Games could be between $600-800M. Cancellations through June alone will cost U.S. Olympic sport NGBs $150M and Team USA athletes $25M, according to data compiled by Olympic leaders and obtained by THE DAILY. "There will be a time when we get through this crisis, and sport is a really important part of our society,” said USA Biathlon CEO Max Cobb, who also is chair of the NGB Council. "NGBs deliver sports for millions and millions of kids and adults in America, and our hope really is that we can keep the critical infrastructure of the NGBs, their ability to plan and execute sports programs across the country intact." The estimates were finished before Tuesday’s official announcement that the Tokyo Games were being postponed until '21. In response to a USOPC request for data, the NGBs collectively estimated they will cancel at least 8,029 events by June, leading directly to losses of $122M. Leaders increased their total estimate to $150M to account for the NGBs that did not respond to the surveys. Athletes across the U.S. Olympic movement are estimated to lose $25M in direct income from sponsors and other funders as a result of the domestic cancellations through June, and another $27M because the Olympics are delayed, according to USOPC Athletes’ Advisory Council Chair Han Xiao.

PLAYING DEFENSE: USOPC CEO Sarah Hirshland defended the request. “The USOPC did not and is not asking for any funding for our organization,” she said. “The request for funds to be paid directly to athletes and National Governing Bodies was made in light of the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 virus on our domestic sport community, specifically focused on interruption of athlete training and earning opportunities, and the cancellation of the hundreds of revenue-generating events managed by the independent NGBs." The Wall Street Journal first reported the request for taxpayer aid. The USOPC is federally chartered, but typically operates as a freestanding nonprofit with no direct government funding.