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New Revenue Deal Means Olympics Could Now Return To U.S.

The United States and International Olympic Committees have formally announced a revenue-sharing agreement that paves the way for the return of the Olympics to the U.S.

Details of the deal were not released but sources familiar with it say it guarantees the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) at least $110 million a year from international Olympic sponsorships and the American rights to televise the games.

The USOC share of new revenues will be cut sharply from the current formula and the USOC will initially contribute $15 million a year to help pay for staging the Olympics. That amount rises to $20 million in 2020. The agreement expires in 2040.

Other National Olympic Committees and some members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) resented the fact that the USOC had the biggest share of Olympic revenues. That was based, in part, on the fact that American corporations and television networks generated most of the income that flowed into the IOC.

The resentment is considered one factor in the IOC rejection of recent efforts by Chicago and New York to host the Olympics. The revenue-sharing dispute resulted in so much tension the USOC decided it would not submit any American bids for the Olympics until it could negotiate a resolution.

USOC officials even moved up by two years a negotiating schedule that wasn't supposed to begin until 2013.

"We hope this has removed a road block from a successful bid for the United States," said USOC Chairman Larry Probst, who added that the USOC will now discuss an American Olympic bid next month.

The next Olympics up for grabs is the 2022 Winter Games. Salt Lake City, Reno-Lake Tahoe and Denver already have Olympic committees studying the possibility of submitting host city bids for 2022. There's also interest from Olympic boosters in Bozeman, Montana.

The USOC decides which American city to nominate as the country's candidate. The IOC then chooses from among candidate cities from multiple countries.

The last summer Olympics in the U.S. was in 1996 in Atlanta. Salt Lake City hosted the 2002 Winter Games.

IOC officials sound pleased to have resolved the dispute with the world's biggest source of Olympic revenues.

"This is a very happy moment," said IOC President Jacques Rogge. "This agreement will definitely strengthen both sides."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Howard Berkes is a correspondent for the NPR Investigations Unit.