USOC TV decision should aid Chicago

August 16, 2009 12:14:16 PM PDT
The U.S. Olympic Committee has done an about-face on an issue that was undermining support for Chicago's bid for the 2016 Summer Games. Bowing to pressure and anger by many members of the International Olympic Committee, USOC Chairman Larry Probst announced in Berlin Sunday that plans to launch an Olympic-themed television channel will be delayed indefinitely.

"The USOC has decided to delay further development of the Network until we have resolved all issues of concern to the IOC," Probst said in a statement following a meeting with IOC President Jacques Rogge.

The USOC announced plans for the television channel earlier this summer with little prior consultation with the IOC. The announcement was greeted with concern by many IOC members who worried an Olympic television channel in the United States would devalue the broadcast rights for the winter and summer Games. It was also seen as a sign of arrogance and disrespect by the U.S. Olympic Committee for their international partners. Money maters have long complicated the IOC/USOC relationship and sparked resentment toward the United States.

"We applaud Larry Probst and the USOC for making a strong statement of partnership by stating that the USOC would secure the full support and cooperation of the IOC before moving forward," Chicago 2016 Chairman Pat Ryan said. "It is important not only for the USOC and IOC relationship, but also for the USOC's role within the Olympic movement."

Behind-the-scenes, Chicago's bid team has been working to shore up relations with IOC members and reassure them Chicago would be a respectful partner should they award Chicago the Games.

Statement by Larry Probst, Chairman, United States Olympic Committee:

"[Yesterday] IOC President Jacques Rogge and I met in Berlin to discuss a number of matters of importance to the Olympic Movement, but primarily the US Olympic Network.

The meeting was productive and positive and was an opportunity for me to underscore the USOC's commitment to working together with him and the IOC.

We recognized the necessity and importance of finding new ways to grow and develop the Olympic Movement, especially amongst youth.

I took the opportunity to stress our commitment to being good partners with the IOC and assured President Rogge that we will secure the full support and cooperation of the IOC before we move forward with the Olympic Network. In order to facilitate a productive dialogue, the USOC has decided to delay further development of the Network until we have resolved all issues of concern to the IOC.

President Rogge and I agreed to meet again soon and to continue these constructive and mutually beneficial discussions."


Load Comments