Financing the Olympic Movement : early developments and evolutions / by Stephen R. Wenn

Wenn, Stephen R.

Edited by The Olympic Studies Centre - 2024

For decades following its inception, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) approached its work without the benefit of meaningful substantial revenue. The arrival of television and, in particular, satellite technology, which permitted the instantaneous trans-Oceanic transmission of television events in the 1960s, altered the landscape. A second revenue stream, corporate sponsorship, opened some years later through the vision of IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch. Distribution of this revenue became a much-debated issue amongst the IOC, National Olympic Committees, and International Sports Federations. The Amateur Sports Act (1978), a piece of US federal legislation, was eventually leveraged by the United States Olympic Committee to secure for itself substantial portions of the money from US Olympic television contracts and revenue produced by The Olympic Programme (TOP), now The Olympic Partner programme. This became a difficult issue for IOC leaders, though a revised distribution policy, one more acceptable to all parties, was agreed in 2012. While some critics bemoan how money has “changed” the Olympics, successive IOC Presidents Samaranch, Rogge, and Bach considered commercial revenue as a means of enhancing organisational autonomy, while preserving the relevance of the Olympic Games in the increasingly crowded landscape of global sport, as well as their capacity to serve as a platform for the promotion of the Olympic ideals.

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