Cover image for Selling the five rings : the International Olympic Committee and the rise of Olympic commercialism
Selling the five rings : the International Olympic Committee and the rise of Olympic commercialism
Barney, Robert Knight, 1932-
Publication Information:
Salt Lake City : The University of Utah Press, [2002]

Physical Description:
xvi, 384 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
An epilogue as prologue : Sydney 2000, "the greatest games ever" -- The evolution of Olympic commercialism. Establishing a prospective gold mine : the early years. Avery Brundage and the Great Bread War : an Olympian precedent. Showdown in Melbourne, 1956 : evolution of the Olympic television rights concept. Conflict in the Olympic Movement : Avery Brundage, television money, and the Rome formula in the 1960s. Television and the 1970s : Munich and Montreal. Confrontations galore : Lake Placid, Moscow, and the 1980 Olympic festivals -- The IOC becomes a corporate entity. Protecting and exploiting the Olympic mystique : the emergence of TOP. Monique Berlioux's zenith : Sarajevo and Los Angeles television negotiations. The guard changes in Lausanne : Richard Pound, television negotiations, and the 1988 Olympic festivals. The IOC's new corporate face : the rise of meridian management. Turf war : the USOC, IOC, and Olympic television in the 1990s. Protecting American dollars : Mr. Samaranch goes to Washington. Reflections : commercial revenue, the Samaranch presidency, and challenges for Jacques Rogge.
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The original scheme for the modern Olympic Games was hatched at an international sports conference at the Sorbonne in June 1894. At the time, few provisions were made for the financial underwriting of the project--providence and the beneficence of host cities would somehow take care of the costs. For much of the first century of modern Olympic history, this was the case, until the advent of television and corporate sponsorship transformed that idealism.

Now, linking with the five-ring logo is good business. Advertising during the Olympic Games guarantees a global audience unmatched in size by any other sports audience in the world. However, if the image begins to tarnish and the corporate sector loses interest, television companies can't sell advertising to business interests. This was the greatest threat posed by the scandal surrounding Salt Lake City's bid.

Selling the Five Rings outlines the rise of the Olympic movement from an envisioned instrument of peace and brotherhood, to a transnational commercial giant of imposing power and influence. Using primary source documents such as minutes of the IOC General Sessions, minutes and reports of various IOC sub-committees and commissions concerned with finance, reports of key marketing agencies, and the letters and memoranda written to and by the major figures in Olympic history, the authors track the history of a fascinating global institution.


Author Notes

Robert Barney is professor emeritus and founding director emeritus of the International Center for Olympic Studies, School of Kinesiology, University of Western Ontario.
Stephen Wenn is associate professor and chair of kinesiology and physical education at Wilfrid Laurier University.
Scott Martyn is associate professor human kinetics at the University of Windsor.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

The authors provide a thorough examination of the financial and marketing evolution of the modern Olympic Games. When the Games were reintroduced at the end of the 19th century, costs were absorbed by the host city, and profit was not a consideration. Since then, and especially since 1932 when the International Olympic Committee (IOC) became more savvy, the Games have become a marketing and money-making tool. The authors provide a frank discussion of the ethics and mechanics of the commercialization of the Olympics and do not shy away from the paradoxical rules faced by the athletes, who, until recently, were prohibited from profiting from their sport. This is not a "quick read"--rather it is a careful accounting of the growth of the financial empire that is the Olympic Games. The authors provide more than 1,200 notes, many from minutes of the IOC General Sessions, minutes of IOC commissions, and personal interviews. Must reading for anyone interested in the changing face of the Olympic movement or competitive sports in general, this beautifully written book is recommended for academic and public libraries serving readers at all levels. D. W. Hill University of North Texas

Table of Contents

Prefacep. ix
An Epilogue as Prologue: Sydney 2000, "The Greatest Games Ever"p. 1
Part I. The Evolution of Olympic Commercialism
1. Establishing a Prospective Gold Mine: The Early Yearsp. 17
2. Avery Brundage and the Great Bread War: An Olympian Precedentp. 31
3. Showdown in Melbourne, 1956: Evolution of the Olympic Television Rights Conceptp. 51
4. Conflict in the Olympic Movement: Avery Brundage, Television Money, and the Rome Formula in the 1960sp. 79
5. Television and the 1970s: Munich and Montrealp. 103
6. Confrontations Galore: Lake Placid, Moscow, and the 1980 Olympic Festivalsp. 127
Part II. The IOC Becomes a Corporate Entity
7. Protecting and Exploiting the Olympic Mystique: The Emergence of TOPp. 153
8. Monique Berlioux's Zenith: Sarajevo and Los Angeles Television Negotiationsp. 181
9. The Guard Changes in Lausanne: Richard Pound, Television Negotiations, and the 1988 Olympic Festivalsp. 203
10. The IOC's New Corporate Face: The Rise of Meridian Managementp. 231
11. Turf War: The USOC, IOC, and Olympic Television in the 1990sp. 243
12. Protecting American Dollars: Mr. Samaranch Goes to Washingtonp. 267
13. Reflections: Commercial Revenue, the Samaranch Presidency, and Challenges for Jacques Roggep. 275
Notesp. 289
Glossary of Acronymsp. 369
About the Authorsp. 371
Indexp. 373