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Volume 7 No. 79
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U.S. Sponsors Could See Better Return During Olympics Without Presence Of Russia

The IOC's ban of Russia from the PyeongChang Games likely means additional medals for Team USA, and the "subsequent ratings bump for NBC telecasts" are likely to please USOC sponsors, according to Kevin Draper of the N.Y. TIMES. A dearth of Russian athletes will "make Americans more competitive and more likely to win medals," which has been an "essential ingredient for a highly watched and financially successful Olympics" among U.S. viewers. NBC Broadcasting & Sports Chair Mark Lazarus said, "There is no doubt that our audience likes to see Americans performing well." The IOC's ruling "delivered much-needed buzz and attention to an event that research and slow ticket sales suggest has been severely lacking in both areas." Lazarus said that the scandal "took the story 'off the sports page and onto the front pages,' which could bring more viewers." Experts added that Russia's absence "should not harm" IOC TOP sponsors such as Coca-Cola, Visa, Samsung and Toyota. Most TOP sponsors have long-term contracts and will applaud the IOC's decision, "because it might restore public confidence in the organization and show it is committed to preventing cheating athletes from competing" (N.Y. TIMES, 12/8).