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Volume 10 No. 26


Twelve years after becoming IOC President, Jacques Rogge stepped to the podium Sunday to deliver his final activity report to the organization. It outlined all that had changed since he took over the organization in '01. Back then, the IOC was digging its way out of the Salt Lake City scandal, facing criticism from sponsors and struggling to accumulate cash reserves in case an int'l crisis forced it to postpone a Games. But under the 71-year-old Belgian's direction, all that has changed. The organization has avoided another ethics scandal, increased sponsorship revenue by more than 50% and boosted its cash reserves from $105M to $901M. "He's done well," said Spanish IOC member Juan Antonio Samaranch Jr. "Besides the crucial fact he managed to stage extraordinary Games, there's also the things he did like create the reserve fund. He served us well." The IOC's financial position improved considerably under Rogge. When he started in '01, the IOC's TOP sponsorship program generated $663M during a four-year period. It will collect $1B over the next four-year cycle. TV revenue made similar gains, rising from $2.2B when he started to $4B as he leaves. "Globally speaking, the television-rights market is clearly a very solid one and we are obviously not suffering from the drop in TV revenues predicted by many," Rogge said. In addition to achieving financial stability, Rogge negotiated a new revenue-sharing agreement with the U.S. Olympic Committee. The previous agreement gave the USOC 12.5% of U.S. TV rights fees and 16% of TOP revenue. Though NBC pays more than any other rightsholder worldwide, other national Olympic committees and int'l federations criticized the structure. Rogge's administration tried for years to structure a new deal and finally got one done last year. Under terms of the new agreement, the USOC's total haul is capped at $410M per quadrennium plus a share of revenue from new growth areas. "The new agreement ... is a win-win situation for both parties," Rogge said.

IMPROVED ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES: In addition to financial growth, the IOC improved the administrative services it offered. It developed a system for overseeing the Olympics after they are awarded to a city and created a "knowledge transfer" program to assist host cities with organizing the Games. Rogge also tackled the declining youth interest in the Games, an issue that both broadcasters and sponsors have raised with the IOC. He developed a mini-Olympics called the Youth Olympic Games in an effort to raise awareness of the Olympic movement and encourage young participation in sports. More than 4,500 athletes competed in the first two Youth Olympic Games in '10 and '12, and the Olympics saw some uptick globally in young viewership during the London Games last year. "The appeal of (the London Games), especially in the younger age groups, greatly increased over previous editions," Rogge said. "This is a sign that we have worked in the right direction."

TENURE HAS BROUGHT CRITICISM: For all the IOC's accomplishments the last 12 years, Rogge's tenure has not been without criticism. Several IOC members question the value and cost of the Youth Olympic Games. The IOC spends millions to send its members to the event and cities spend millions to host it, but it has struggled to get int'l media coverage and generate attention outside the host country. There also has been criticism of the way the IOC's sports program has evolved. Rogge introduced a hard cap of 25 core sports for the Olympic program that some IOC members took issue with, and Canada IOC member Dick Pound Sunday questioned the organization's decision to vote wrestling out of the Olympics only to vote it back in several months later. "Jacques was saying we have to keep the program a little dynamic and this was clearly a dead end," Pound said after the vote. "Here we are with the same old program. No change. The exercise was moot." Rogge acknowledged the IOC still faces challenges. Even though its financial situation has improved, the escalating cost of hosting an Olympics remains a concern. Beijing spent $40B in '08, London spent $14B in '12 and Sochi is spending $50B for '14. The choice of Tokyo to host the 2020 Games has momentarily halted that trend as the city plans to spend less than $5B. "We must remain realistic," Rogge said. "The IOC must ensure that it continues and intensifies its policy on controlling the cost, size and complexity of the Games."

TOP V ('01-04) $663M
TOP VI ('05-08) $886M
TOP VII ('09-12) $957M
TOP VIII ('13-16) $1B
'01-04 $2.2B
'05-08 $2.6B
'09-12 $3.9B
'13-16 $4B
'98 Nagano/'00 Sydney $211M
'02 Salt Lake City/'04 Athens $346M
'06 Turin/'08 Beijing $421M
'10 Vancouver/'12 London $728M
Tripp Mickle is on the ground in Buenos Aires reporting and tweeting from the IOC meetings. Look for continued posts from him on our On The Ground blog. For more on the IOC presidental vote, which takes place Tuesday, please see Mickle's preview from the Aug. 5 issue of SportsBusiness Journal.

The IOC’s six presidential candidates are wrapping up their final push for votes and preparing for Tuesday’s selection of a successor to Jacques Rogge. It’s only the second presidential election in 30 years. Six IOC members are vying for the job: Thomas Bach, a German lawyer and former Olympian; Sergey Bubka, the Ukranian pole vaulting Gold Medalist; Richard Carrion, the Puerto Rican CEO of Banco Popular; Ng Ser Miang, the Singaporean businessman; Dennis Oswald, a Swiss lawyer and Olympic rower; and C.K. Wu, the Tawainese architect and head of the boxing federation. Bach has long been seen as a frontrunner and many Olympic observers have him pegged to win a majority of votes in the first or second round of voting. But that has not stopped the other candidates from lobbying for votes. Bubka took a group of IOC members out to dinner on Monday night and Oswald and Carrion dined together over the weekend. But by the end of the IOC’s meetings Monday, the candidates felt there was little left for them to do. Ng said, “What can be done is done. All we can do is get good sleep.” The election has shaped up very differently from the last one in '01. That year, outgoing President Juan Antonion Samaranch was considered to favor Jacques Rogge as his successor. But IOC members say Rogge has stayed out of this election. Canadian IOC member Dick Pound, who ran for president in the last election in '01, said, “I don’t think Jacques has anyone in mind and it’s complicated because there are six moving parts instead of four (like 2001). Since I’ve gotten here, my sense is a majority will be for Thomas Bach. That’s not to say there aren’t five good candidates in the background.” The vote will take place from 10-11am. ET. The winner of the presidency will be named at 11:30am ET.

Tripp Mickle is on the ground in Buenos Aires reporting and tweeting from the IOC meetings. Look for continued posts from him on our On The Ground blog.

Senior Olympic members have warned the 2016 Rio de Janiero Olympics organizers their Games "are so under-prepared the situation is now 'critical,'" according to Jacquelin Magnay of THE AUSTRALIAN. In a departure from the usual diplomatic language used within the Olympic movement, three senior IOC members, including Australian Kevan Gosper, on Monday night "issued a withering assessment of progress, panned the lack of planning and warned of disastrous results if there was not an accelerated program of works in the Brazilian city." The IOC member in charge of Rio, Nawal El Moutawakel, "publicly listed three urgent priorities for the organisers, which are such basic structural concepts members are questioning whether Rio has the capability to host" the Games at all. El Moutawakel said that "the venue masterplan still had to be finalised, a timetable of construction had to be signed off and a matrix of responsibility had to be developed." She said, "We have agreed that Rio has these three urgent priorities" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 9/10).

DEMONSRATORS STILL A WORRY: The BBC's David Bond reported German Olympic Committee President and IOC presidential candidate Thomas Bach said that the 2016 Rio Games "could be targeted by mass demonstrations" unless the IOC "starts explaining the benefits of the Games to the Brazilian public." The 59-year-old German lawyer and former fencing Gold Medalist "is favourite in a six-way contest to replace Jacques Rogge as president of the IOC." If elected, Bach said that his first priority "will be to ensure the smooth delivery of the Sochi 2014 Winter Games, which have been subject to delays, budget overruns and concerns over the warm weather" (BBC, 9/9).

Tokyo’s successful bid to host the 2020 Olympics "featured a mixture of old and new stadia that should enable the Games to come in cheaper than either London or Beijing," according to Josh Burrows of the LONDON TIMES. A new 80,000-seat athletics stadium "will be the centerpiece, touted by organisers as one of the most advanced in the world." Designed by Zaha Hadid, who was responsible for the aquatics centre at the 2012 London Games, "it will be erected on the site of the Olympic Stadium from 1964, the last time Tokyo was host." The venue, which will feature a retractable roof, "should be finished in time to be used for the 2019 Rugby World Cup." Japan’s proposed budget for the Games is approximately $7.8B, of which $4.4B "is set aside for investment" and $3.4B "for running the Olympics." Those figures compare favorably with the 2008 Beijing Games, which cost about $20B, and the 2012 London Games, which came in at about $13.7B (LONDON TIMES, 9/9).

ECONOMIC BOOST: In Beijing, Bai Tiantian reported quoting projections from a research institute, Kyodo News "predicted that the 2020 Games in Tokyo will likely push up Japan's gross domestic product by 0.5 percent that year with positive economic effects" worth 4.2T yen ($42.3B), "due partly to expected growing demand for new construction and a boost to tourism." The news agency also estimated that 8.5 million tourists "will visit Tokyo during the Games" and the spillover effects will add 2.96T yen ($30B) to the Japanese economy in the eight years from '13 (GLOBAL TIMES, 9/9). XINHUA's Jon Day reported Japan "will reconsider the idea of setting up a new sports agency" with the aim of "further promoting sports on a national level in the run-up to the Games." Japan "is planning to see an amalgamation of training programs for both Olympic and Paralympic athletes, as part of a broader strategy to consolidate the Games." In addition, officials said that Japan "will seek to make training facilities available to both Olympic and Paralympic athletes" (XINHUA, 9/9).

ISTANBUL HITS BACK: REUTERS' Humeyra Pamuk reported Turkish PM Tayyip Erdogan said that "the choice of Tokyo instead of Istanbul to host the 2020 Olympic Games was unfair and meant the IOC was turning its back on the Muslim world." Erdogan: "Both Tokyo and Madrid have hosted the games before; Istanbul hasn't. It hasn't been fair. In a way, they are cutting ties with the 1.5 billion-people Muslim world" (REUTERS, 9/9).

CHINA'S REACTION GUARDED: KYODO reported China's Foreign Ministry on Monday "stopped short of congratulating Tokyo for winning its bid to host the 2020 Summer Olympics, and instead urged Japan to make more efforts to mend bilateral ties frayed over an island dispute." Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei urged Japan to win the trust of the int'l community by adopting "a correct attitude on historical issues" (KYODO, 9/9). REUTERS' Ben Blanchard reported in a statement posted on the ministry's website after the news conference had ended, Hong said that the Chinese Olympic Committee "had in fact expressed its congratulations." It "did not elaborate" (REUTERS, 9/9). KYODO reported the U.S. on Sunday "congratulated Tokyo on the success of its bid." The White House statement said, "On behalf of President (Barack) Obama and the United States, I am delighted to congratulate the city of Tokyo, and our close ally Japan, on its selection as host of the 2020 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games" (KYODO, 9/9).

Greece wrestling federation President Kostas Thanos said that "wrestling's reclamation of a spot in the 2020 Olympic Games represented a victory" for the country, according to Graham Wood of REUTERS. Thanos: "This was a victory for Greece because the sport is completely Greek and is part of our history. As we saw, there was an unprecedented response globally and I think those reactions surprised the IOC." Sunday's result "was a sensational turnaround for the sport" under new int'l wrestling federation (FILA) President Nenad Lalovic, who "overhauled its rules, administration, gender equality policy and operations following the shock exclusion." Greek Olympic Committee President Spyros Kapralos said, "We express our great satisfaction for the preservation of wrestling in the Olympic Games program. The decision is sure to be warmly welcomed by all sports people, not only in Greece, but everywhere in the world." There was a "similar sense of relief in India for whom wrestling fetched two of the country's six hard-earned medals from last year's London Olympics" (REUTERS, 9/9).

INDIA PLEASED: The PTI reported acting Indian Olympic Association CEO V. K. Malhotra said, "We were waiting for this news. We are happy that efforts have yielded desired result. It is really good for the wrestlers" (PTI, 9/8).

RUSSIA RELIEVED: R-SPORT reported "there was widespread relief in the Russian sports community" as wrestling "returned to the Olympic program." Russian national wrestling coach Gogi Koguashvili, who is also a five-time world champion, said, "From the first day, when they said wrestling could be excluded from the Olympics, I didn't believe it -- it's one of the fundamental Olympic sports. But yesterday before the vote, I felt uneasy all the same. It's good that these experiments on wrestling have finished and that the truth has prevailed" (R-SPORT, 9/9).

QUESTIONS REMAIN: In London, Owen Gibson reported the U.S., Russia and Iran "all would have been celebrating" as IOC members voted to retain wrestling's Olympic status for the 2020 Tokyo Games. Just as "loud as the cheers from the victors," however, were the "questions from others over a process that has taken two and a half years and cost the campaigning sports a small fortune, only to come full circle." A process that was "supposed to end with a new sport earning Olympic status ended with one of those most readily associated with the ancient Games in Olympia having to scrap for its life." The prospect of wrestling losing its status "had been described as a 'crisis'" by Lalovic. The "ludicrously long-winded process may not yet be over." The new IOC president, "due to be selected from a shortlist of six on Tuesday," is expected to look again at the sports program "and could yet add another sport for 2020" (GUARDIAN, 9/8).

'THE RIGHT DECISION': In Washington, DC, Tracee Hamilton opined the IOC "made the right decision -- and how often do we hear that? -- when it voted Sunday to return wrestling, at least provisionally, to the Olympic program." Losing the int'l platform of the Olympics "would have had a trickle-down effect, at least in this country, to college and high school programs" (WASHINGTON POST, 9/8).

Spanish construction companies have "noticed the biggest declines in their values" in Spanish exchange index IBEX 35's first ratings update to Spain's primary stock market, Bolsa de Madrid, since Madrid lost its bid to host the 2020 Olympics on Saturday, according to the EP. On Monday, the index had fallen .63% and "put at risk the level at which the index closed the previous week -- at 8,600 points." Spanish construction firms lost the most, "with ACS's stock dropping 2.11% and FCC falling 1.87%, followed by Acciona, which fell 1.74%" (EP, 9/9).

BARCELONA MAYOR CONFIDENT: MARCA reported Barcelona Mayor Xavier Trias said that he is "strongly in favour" of presenting the city as a candidate for the 2022 Winter Olympics. Trias: "In Spain, only Barcelona could compete with Tokyo and Istanbul. The Barcelona brand is stronger than Istanbul and almost as strong as Tokyo." Trias said that he has "the backing of the government for Barcelona 2022" and hopes to receive "the go-ahead from the Spanish Olympic Committee (COE)" (MARCA, 9/9).

MADRID MAYOR MOCKED: In Barcelona, Asier Martiarena reported Madrid Mayor Ana Botella's presentation to IOC voters prior to the decision on the 2020 Olympic host city pointed out that Madrid "is fun" and said that "nobody enjoys life the way that Spanish people do." Botella also said that the "best way to appreciate this is to drink coffee in Madrid's Plaza Mayor." This topic "was very different from what Tokyo promised to the IOC, as Tokyo discussed the city's economic potential, organization and audience." Social networks "have boiled, with Botella's performance becoming a target of mockery" (LA VANGUARDIA, 9/9).   

Former USOC CEO and Olympic wrestler JIM SCHERR Sunday led off the wrestling federation's (FILA) presentation to the IOC. He was among the group that erupted and pumped its fists the moment after IOC President Jacques Rogge announced that wrestling received enough votes to stay in the Olympics. Scherr sat down with SportsBusiness Journal staff writer Tripp Mickle in the lobby of the Hilton Buenos Aires a day after the decision to discuss wrestling's effort to retain its spot in the Olympics.

What did this do for wrestling?
Jim Scherr: It's made significant change of people in leadership positions, the structure of governance, the rules and general excitement of the sport, but probably the single thing it did more than anything else is there's more worldwide interest and coverage of Olympic wrestling in the last seven months than there's been in the last 25 years.

How does wrestling build on that interest?
Scherr: There were tens of millions of people around the world following this process. Wrestling needs to create a platform that can reach them. A multilingual and layered media platform underpinned with a sponsorship program. Whatever content they have and developed content they need to get out on broadcast and digital. They need to get that to the masses and do it fast because they don't have a big window to do it.

How much infrastructure is in place now?
Scherr: It's very limited. They weren't geared for this stuff before in the federation.

What message does this process send to other sports federations?
Scherr: Every federation but a couple now feels like they could be in the same situation that wrestling (was in). The (int'l federations) will all be on their toes a little bit because of this process.

What is next for you with wrestling?
Scherr: I'm on the (FILA) executive board for the next year and a half and will stay involved that way. Within the U.S., I hope to be involved in helping USA Wrestling do the same thing, which is work on the presentation of the sport, work on creating a media platform and work on selling that platform. I'd like to help with that in an advisory capacity.
Tripp Mickle is on the ground in Buenos Aires reporting and tweeting from the IOC meetings. Look for continued posts from him on our On The Ground blog.

Residents of Oslo, Norway hit election booths Monday "threatening to do the once unthinkable: vote against a bid for the Winter Games because of cost concerns," according to Ellen Emmerentze Jervell of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. Norway, which claims the highest medal count in Winter Olympics history, "has been debating a proposal" to bring the 2022 Olymipcs to Oslo. As part of wider parliamentary elections on Monday, the city's residents "will cast ballots on whether to make the bid." In a recent survey published in Norwegian daily Aftenposten, only 38% of 800 Oslo residents polled said that "they would support the bid," while 47% said that "they would reject it" and the other 15% "were undecided." Another poll of 1,031 Oslo inhabitants, published in national daily VG last week, reported 48.5% "would vote yes," 40.7% said that "they opposed it" and 11% "were undecided." Though Oslo residents "don't have the final say, and the city council will ultimately determine whether to pursue the bid, the referendum's result will be a factor in the decision-making." Many in the Norwegian capital said that "they would rather spend the money on other projects." The proposed price for a 2022 Oslo Olympics -- estimated at $5.5B -- "is higher than the cost of many previous Winter Games." However, it is a tenth of the estimated price tag for the 2014 Sochi Olymipcs. Norway "has deep pockets, though, and tons of Olympic pride," which is why disapproval "has supporters scratching their heads." Oslo 2022 CEO Eli Grimsby said, "We find it surprising" (WSJ, 9/8).