By Jonathan Rest
Member federations of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations are in line to receive as much as $475 million from their share of television revenues from the London 2012 Olympic Games, $100 million more than originally estimated, Sportcal has learned.
The ASOIF Council met in Lausanne today, with television income at the top of the agenda. The IFs have already had two substantial tranches of cash from the International Olympic Committee, but have been told that the full amount will not be known until the first quarter of 2013, when all broadcasters have paid up and the final sums are calculated.
At ASOIF's general assembly, held during the SportAccord Convention in Quebec City in May, the organisation said it had made projections for receiving a total of $400 million, $425 million or even $450 million for distribution to the federations, compared with an earlier figure of $375 million.
However, Sportcal understands the final figure will exceed even the top end of ASOIF's projections, and is likely to come in at around $475 million.
The total figure from the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games was $296.15 million, which was a $40-million rise on Athens 2004.
The London 2012 money will be split between 26 sports grouped into four tiers, with the IAAF, athletics' international governing body, receiving the most as it is the only federation in the top tier. The IAAF has traditionally received around 10 per cent of the total handout from the IOC, and double the amounts paid out to second-tier sports of soccer, tennis, cycling, gymnastics, swimming, basketball and volleyball.
Aside from the increasing value in television rights for the games, the IFs have benefited this time around from a one-off windfall because the revenues will only be shared between 26 federations instead of the usual 28, following the exclusion of baseball and softball from the London 2012 programme and ahead of their replacement by rugby sevens and golf at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
The extra revenues are to be divided equally between the federations, although it is believed that the IAAF, as well as Fifa, soccer's international governing body, agreed to donate to the other federations their share of an extra $20 million in combined television receipts that were available because of a drop in the number of sports in London.
IFs voted in Quebec to give up $327,000 of London 2012 revenues each to help stabilise the finances of ASOIF. That money enabled the organisation to pay off a SFr1.3-million ($1.4-million) loan on its offices in Lausanne, as well as creating a four-year reserve fund worth SFr3.1 million, to match the four-year Olympic cycle. At present, the organisation only has reserves for two years.
The members also voted, in view of the extra revenues, to give up 1 per cent of their total income over the next Olympic cycle to help fund specific research projects being undertaken by ASOIF, one of which is the so-called ISIS (International Sports Information System) project that aims to create a common standard for the sharing of competition data (such as results and athlete biographies) between the federations and the IOC.
The ASOIF Council approved the ISIS project today.
The council meeting was the last to be led by Denis Oswald, president of FISA, the international rowing federation, who hands over the ASOIF chair to Francesco Ricci Bitti, president of the International Tennis Federation, on January 1, 2013.
However, because Ricci Bitti has reached the age (70) at which IOC members must compulsorily retire, Ching-Kuo Wu, the president of AIBA, the international boxing federation, will replace Oswald as the ASOIF representative on the IOC executive board.
Wu will make his first presentation on behalf of ASOIF at next week's IOC executive board meeting in Lausanne.