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The inside stuff: IOC letter to USOC on network dispute

July 9, 2009 |  2:14 pm

Ioc The Chicago Tribune has obtained a copy of the letter sent by the International Olympic Committee to the U.S. Olympic Committee, in which the IOC advised the USOC to hold off on its announcement of a U.S. Olympic cable network.

The USOC chose to go ahead, which put the Chicago 2016 Olympic bid in an awkward position, as Kathy Bergen and I reported in Thursday's Tribune.

An image of the letter is located to the right (click on it to read). Below the jump is an official statement from the IOC, which echoes the strong criticism of the USOC leveled by IOC executive board member Richard Carrion of Puerto Rico and reported in the story.

Click on the thread for the official IOC statement.

Here is the official IOC statement:

``The International Olympic Committee has always endeavoured to work in close partnership with the USOC. We share a commitment to provide the best Olympic Games experience possible to spectators and athletes alike.  We also believe, as they do, that we should work together to constantly spread the values of the Olympic Family, not just in the United States but around the world.
``The IOC's cooperation with USOC includes working together on Olympic sponsorship and broadcasting agreements within the United States.  We were aware that the USOC had been considering a new 'Olympic broadcast network', but we have never been presented with a plan, and we had assumed that we would have an opportunity to discuss unresolved questions together before the project moved forward. It is for this reason that the IOC is disappointed that USOC acted unilaterally and, in our view, in haste by announcing their plans before we had had a chance to consider together the ramifications. The proposed channel raises complex legal and contractual issues and could have a negative impact our relationships with other Olympic broadcasters and sponsors, including our US TV partner, NBC.
``The IOC is seeking additional information on USOC's plans and remain hopeful that we can work through the issues and reach a solution that works for all the many partners involved and for the American public in particular."

-- Philip Hersh