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≡ THE 5-RING CIRCUS ≡
1. LA28 annual report shows encouraging 2021 finances
2. NCAA T&F: Texas’ Alfred and Neugebauer dominate
3. McLaughlin-Levrone and Ingebrigtsen at Meeting de Paris
4. World Boxing: IBA expulsion an “opportunity to move on”
5. FIFA details Women’s World Cup pay; renews with AB InBev
The once-a-year report from the LA28 organizing committee to the City of Los Angeles showed another loss on paper, but in fact their finances are beginning to look up. The overall budget remained unchanged at $6.884 billion. At the NCAA Track & Field Championships in Austin, Texas, home favorite Julian Alfred led the qualifying in the women’s 100 m and 200 m and led off a brilliant 4×100 m in which the Longhorns ran 41.55, faster than all but four countries in history! Germany’s Leo Neugebauer, also competing for Texas, won the decathlon in a world-leading 8,836, a new national record! The Wanda Diamond League continues on Friday at the Meeting de Paris, with the first outdoor appearance by 400 m hurdles record-holder Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone this season, but in the flat 400 m. Norwegian superstar Jakob Ingebrigtsen will challenge one of the great world records on the books: Kenyan Daniel Komen’s 1997 mark of 7:58.61 in the two-mile. World Boxing issued a statement saying it is ready to help create a pathway for the sport back into the Olympic Games for 2028, following the International Olympic Committee’s Executive Board decision to expel the International Boxing Association, with a vote coming on 22 June. FIFA released the details of its pay plan for players in the 2023 Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand – from $30,000 to $270,000 – and announced that more than one million tickets have been sold so far. It also announced a continuing sponsorship through the 2026 FIFA World Cup with AB InBev, undeterred by the problems at last year’s World Cup, when the Qatar government did not allow beer to be served at the stadia.
● World Championship: Football (Uruguay and Italy advance in U-20 World Cup) ●
● Panorama: Paris 2024 (LVMH sponsorship coming) = Wrestling (protesters suspend actions on promise of arrest) ●
LA28 annual report shows encouraging 2021 finances
The LA28 Olympic and Paralympic organizing committee has mostly adopted the rule of silence in its build-up to 2028, but is required by its agreement with the City of Los Angeles to provide an annual report, including financial statements.
The 2023 edition was made public on Wednesday, with data on 2021 and included both audited financials and its IRS Form 990 tax return. The formal presentation showed another big loss for the year, but the detail showed the first signs of financial support from the efforts of the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Properties joint venture by LA28 and the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee:
“At the end of the year, LA28 completed an integrated strategic plan and annual operating plan for 2023. The result of that plan did not have any material impact on the Games Budget. LA28 continues to manage inflationary pressures through a combination of initiatives focused on reducing the cost and complexity of the games and increasing monetization opportunities. …
“Revenue in 2021 is $22M offset by $93.2M expenses, which results in an annual deficit of $71.2M. The total cumulative deficit is $145.7M. In accordance with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), LA28 is required to defer the recognition of significant revenues received ($212.9M through 2021) until the contractual obligations can be performed (e.g. activation of sponsorship and licensing rights at a future date). As deferred revenue becomes recognized in future years, it will offset the current reported deficit. LA28’s financial health is more accurately reflected by the increase in cash during the year, totaling $23.2 million, and the ending cash balance of $82.2 million. . . .
“LA28 is finalizing its accounting for fiscal year 2022. The organizing committee’s primary source of cash in 2022 was the International Olympic Committee’s payments totaling $36 million and sponsorship and licensing payments totaling $75 million.”
The LA28 budget, forecast at $6.884 billion in 2019, was confirmed as still valid.
There was also a fascinating new report in the package, forecasting cash flow for the next few years and demonstrating the back-loaded spending plan always envisioned:
● 2017-21: $239.7 million (actual)
● 2022: $121.6 million (actual and forecast)
● 2023: $181.7 million (forecast)
● 2024-29: $6.341 billion (forecast)
● 2017-21: $158.6 million (actual)
● 2022: $137.6 million (forecast)
● 2023: $189.2 million (forecast)
● 2024-29: $5.793 billion (forecast)
The totals are $6.884 billion in revenue and $6.268 billion in expenses, with the difference of $616 million the contingency cushion.
The staff total at the end of 2021 was 102, with most in Los Angeles, but:
“The Organization expects to run efficient operations with a modestly lean team for the next 2 to 3 years; however, closer to the Games, the workforce will grow to thousands, including full-time employees, contractors, and volunteers.”
Significant funds from the USOPP joint venture is already going to the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee under a 2020 agreement that will pay $430 million in all:
● 2022-23-24: $58 million per year
● 2025-26-27-28: $64 million per year
Payments began in 2021 and $46.1 million was charged against the combined LA28/USOPP entity, accounting for 65% of the 2021 deficit.
Observed: It’s not possible to judge the future health of the LA28 effort from the 2021 financial statements or even the current report to the City of Los Angeles. But the revenue turbine is starting to turn and in a program which projects $2.52 billion in domestic sponsorship revenue, that’s a good sign.
Also positive is the low staff numbers shown in the financials (102) and for LA28 alone on the Form 990 tax return (87). And there are people volunteering already: 47 are shown on the tax return!
NCAA T&F: Texas’ Alfred and Neugebauer dominate
A lightning delay shuffled the schedule on Thursday at the NCAA Division I Track & Field Championships in Austin, Texas, but it hardly slowed down Julien Alfred and the favored Texas women.
The first event on the track, the 4×100 m was a screamer, with home favorite Texas flying to a 41.55 win in semi three, smashing their own collegiate record (41.89) and running faster than all but four countries in history!
It’s the equal-17th performance of all time and only the U.S. (7), Jamaica (7), Germany (1) and Russia (1) have ever run faster. It was also a big start for Texas star Alfred (LCA), who led off the relay, followed by Ezinne Abba (USA), Rhasidat Adeleke (IRL) and Kevona Davis (JAM). And the final is still to come.
Alfred led all qualifiers in the 100 m at 10.99 (wind: -0.1 m/s), ahead of Rosemary Chukwuma (Texas Tech/NGR), who won semi two in 11.01. Alfred and Davis posted the fastest time in the 200 m qualifying at 22.33, both with legal wind.
Lots of eyes were on Arkansas star Britton Wilson, trying for an amazing 400 m/400 m hurdles double, and she was the fastest 400 m qualifier at 49.36 – breaking Athing Mu’s 2021 meet record! – and was the runaway top qualifier in the hurdles at 54.67, almost a second ahead of the field. She’ll run both finals on Saturday about 24 minutes apart.
The top qualifier in the women’s 800 m was Michaela Rose (LSU) at 2:00.31; Washington’s Sophie O’Sullivan led the 1,500 m in 4:09.58 and Olivia Markezich (Notre Dame) led in the Steeple at 9:40.81.
LSU’s Alia Armstrong led the 100 m hurdles qualifying, winning semi three in 12.54 (0.0), just ahead of semi one winner Ackera Nugent (JAM) of Arkansas (12.55).
In the field, Virginia Tech’s Julia Fixsen won the vault at 4.45 m (14-7 1/4), and Texas soph Ackelia Smith (JAM) – the world leader – took the long jump and the 10 team points at 6.88 m (22-7) over Stanford frosh Alyssa Jones (6.86 m/22-6 1/4).
Axelina Johnson (SWE) of Nebraska won the shot at 19.28 m (63-3 1/4) and the javelin was won by Nebraska’s Rhema Otabor (BAH) at 59.49 m (195-2). Harvard completed a sweep of the men’s and women’s hammer, with Stephanie Ratcliffe (AUS) reaching 73.63 m (241-7) for a lifetime best (and a national record) on her opening throw
The men concluded the decathlon, with a brilliant, collegiate record and world-leading performance for Texas junior Leo Neugebauer (GER), who scored 8,836 points and moved to no. 9 all-time with a German national record!
Georgia’s Kyle Garland was second at 8,630, a seasonal best, with Iowa junior Austin West third at 8,054.
McLaughlin-Levrone and Ingebrigtsen at Meeting de Paris
Questions dominate the anticipation for Friday’s Wanda Diamond League Meeting de Paris in France before an expected full house of about 18,000 at the Stade Charlety:
● Women/400 m: Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone will run the flat 400 for the first time since 2021 and before she set her staggering world 400 m hurdles mark of 50.68 last year at the World Championships.
Her all-time best of 50.07 from 2018 ranks her no. 113 all-time. And in Paris she will face the 2023 world leader and 2022 Worlds silver medalist Marileidy Paulino (DOM) who won the L.A. Grand Prix in 48.98, and no. 5 Salwa Eid Naser of Bahrain (49.78).
● Men/Two Mile: Norway’s Jakob Ingebrigtsen, the Tokyo Olympic 1,500 m winner and 2022 Worlds 5,000 m gold medalist, will try two miles in competition for the first time. He’s already run 3:32.59 to win the Rabat Diamond League 1,500 m, so he in shape.
But what about Kenyan Daniel Komen’s astonishing world record of 7:58.61 from 1997? That’s two 3:59 miles run consecutively! No one else has ever broken 8:00. But LetsRun.com’s Jonathan Gault tweeted a Norwegian TV report that a recent training workout in preparation for Paris was a 6×800 m: 2:00, 2:00, 1:55, 1:55, 1:49.5, 1:49.5! No indication of how much rest he had between them, but that’s impressive.
Ingebrigtsen will also have to deal with a good field, including American Paul Chelimo, no. 2 all-time U.S. at 8:07.59 from 2019.
● Women/5,000 m: Faith Kipyegon (KEN) crushed the world record in the women’s 1,500 m with her 3:49.11 in Florence on 2 June. Now she will try the 5,000 m, which she ran twice in 2015 (14:31.95 and 14:44.51) and in 2022, when she did not finish at ISTAF Berlin.
Can she stun everyone again? World-record holder Letsenbet Gidey (ETH) is in the field; she hasn’t run on the track since the 2022 Worlds, when she won the 10,000 m and was fifth at 5,000 m. Teammate Ejgayehu Taye, no. 5 all-time at 14:12.98 last year, will be on the line, as well American Alicia Monson, possibly thinking about Shelby Houlihan’s 14:23.92 American Record from 2020.
● Men/100 m: Italy’s Lamont Marcell Jacobs sensationally won the Tokyo Olympic title at 9.80 and has then been injured most of the time. He’s going to try it again in Paris, this time facing World 200 m champ Noah Lyles of the U.S., who has run 9.86 back in 2019.
World leader Ferdinand Omanyala (KEN: 9.84) is in as is Ronnie Baker of the U.S. (9.83 in 2021).
Olympic and World Champion Emmanuel Korir (KEN) headlines the men’s 800 m, World Champion Grant Holloway and fellow Americans Devon Allen, Jamal Britt, Daniel Roberts, Freddie Crittenden and improving Swiss star Jason Joseph are all in the 110 m hurdles.
C.J. Allen of the U.S. – no. 2 in 2023 at 47.91 – will get a major test from Worlds bronze winner and countryman Trevor Bassitt (48.43 this year) and returning Qatar star Abderrahmane Samba, 48.56 this season, but with a 2018 best of 46.98. World Hammer leader Rudy Winkler of the U.S. leads that field.
Women’s world no. 2 in the 100 m, Marie-Josee Ta Lou (CIV) will try 200 m against 2022 U.S. champ Abby Steiner, Tokyo Olympic bronze medalist Gabby Thomas and two-time Olympian Jenna Prandini of the U.S. and 2019 World Champion Dina Asher-Smith (GBR).
Olympic and World silver winner Keely Hodgkinson (GBR) faces Americans Ajee Wilson and Raevyn Rogers in the 800 m. In the field, the U.S. has stars Vashti Cunningham in the high jump and Olympic and World gold medalist Katie Moon in the vault, as well as Worlds silver winner Sandi Morris.
World leader Maggie Ewen and 2022 Worlds winner Chase Ealey headline the women’s shot and Olympic champ Valarie Allman is in the discus. A lot for American fans to cheer for.
In the U.S., the meet will be shown live Friday on the Peacock streaming service from 3-5 p.m. Eastern time, with replay coverage on CNBC on Saturday beginning at 1 p.m. Eastern. Quite a doubleheader with the NCAA meet in the evening!
World Boxing: IBA expulsion an “opportunity to move on”
In the aftermath of Wednesday’s thunderbolt from the International Olympic Committee Executive Board, recommending withdrawal of recognition of the International Boxing Association, and calling a special Session on 22 June for a vote, the in-formation World Boxing group asked for support to get boxing back on the Olympic program for 2028.
Its statement included:
“IBA’s persistent failure to address longstanding issues over sporting integrity, governance, transparency and financial management has caused huge damage to international boxing …
“This is a very significant moment as it provides an opportunity for the sport (subject to the decision of the IOC Session on 22 June 23) to move on from the corrosive leadership of IBA which has brought boxing to a place where its status as part of the Olympic programme is in doubt.
“The loss of Olympic status would be devastating for boxing and have damaging long-term consequences, across the globe, for boxers and everyone connected with the sport, from the elite level to the grassroots.
“World Boxing was established to prevent this catastrophic situation from arising and create a better future and is committed to working constructively and collaboratively with the IOC and all other stakeholders to develop a pathway that will preserve boxing’s ongoing place on the Olympic programme.”
So far, USA Boxing, SwissBoxing and GB Boxing have withdrawn from the IBA and indicated their intention to join World Boxing. The new federation does not plan to hold a first Congress until November, so any recognition by the IOC will be well into the future.
FIFA details Women’s World Cup pay; renews with AB InBev
A complete explanation of player pay for the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand was disclosed on Thursday, with the national federations of the participating teams receiving from $1.56 to $4.29 million depending on their finish:
● Group stage: $1.56 million per team
● Round of 16: $1.87 million
● Quarterfinals: $2.18 million
● Fourth place: $2.455 million
● Third place: $2.61 million
● Second place: $3.015 million
● Champions: $4.29 million
Minimum pay to individual players was also detailed, which is separate from amounts provided to national federations:
● Group stage: $30,000 per player ($690,000 per team)
● Round of 16: $60,000 per player ($1.38 million)
● Quarterfinals: $90,000 per player ($2.07 million)
● Fourth place: $165,000 per player ($3.795 million)
● Third place: $180,000 per player ($4,140 million)
● Second place: $195,000 per player ($4.485 million)
● Champions: $270,000 per player ($6.21 million)
FIFA said that “the same conditions and service levels” as provided to teams at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar in 2022.
FIFA also announced that 1,032,884 tickets have been sold for the Women’s World Cup, with a month to go. While this is considered to be more than was sold for the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France, the total reported attendance there was 1,131,312.
FIFA also announced a sponsorship agreement with AB InBev for the 2023 Women’s World Cup and the 2026 FIFA World Cup in Canada, Mexico and the U.S.
This came despite the challenges faced by AB InBev at Qatar 2022, where sales of its alcoholic-beverage products were banned in the stadiums at the last moment by the Qatari government. But signals were sent at the time that indicated AB InBev’s sponsorship would continue, especially with the World Cup coming to North America.
And, with AB InBev still reeling from sharp drops in sales of Bud Light, being part of what promises to be a blockbuster World Cup makes perfect sense.
≡ WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP ≡
● Football ● At the FIFA men’s U-20 World Cup in Argentina, Uruguay and Italy advanced to the final, which will see one of them win this tournament for the first time.
Israel controlled 67% of possession, but Uruguay was the aggressor in the first semifinal, with a 16-8 edge on shots and a 6-2 advantage on actual shots-on-goal. There was plenty of action, with 41 fouls (22 on Uruguay), but the only score came from Anderson Duarte in the 61st minute on a rebound of a shot by Alan Matturro that was saved by Israeli keeper Tomer Zarfati.
Uruguay, runner-ups in 1995 and 2013, but never champions in 15 prior appearances in this tournament will play for its first gold on Sunday against Italy.
The Italians and South Korea played a taut match, with quick scoring in the first half from Cesare Casadei in the 14th minute (his tournament-leading seventh goal) and Seung-won Lee with the equalizer on a penalty shot in the 23rd.
But it would be more than 60 minutes before another score, finally in the 88th minute for Simone Pafundi, off a free kick with a left-footed strike to the top right corner of the goal. Italy enjoyed 64% of possession and a 20-9 edge on shots in a very active game that saw 35 total fouls, 24 of which were called on Italy.
Italy’s previous best finish in the U-20s was a bronze in 2017 and fourth in 2019. They are assured now of at least silver.
South Korea, the runner-up in 2019 to Ukraine, will play Israel on Sunday for the bronze medal.
≡ PANORAMA ≡
● Olympic Games 2024: Paris ● The announcement of the long-awaited sixth top-tier domestic sponsor of the Paris 2024 organizing committee appears to be imminent, with FrancsJeux.com reporting that luxury-goods maker LVMH will sign on.
However, the agreement also has some added features, with separate agreements also reached with National Olympic Committees in Japan, South Korea and perhaps other countries in Asia, but not including China. LVMH gets access to additional markets, but without becoming a TOP partner of the IOC, at a much higher cost.
The other five top-line sponsors of Paris 2024 include BPCE, Carrefour, EDF, Orange and Sanofi.
● Wrestling ● Protests in India over sexual abuse allegations against Wrestling Federation of India President Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh have been suspended after India’s Sports Minister, Anurag Thakur, said that charges would be filed by 15 June.
Some of the wrestlers met with Thakur on Wednesday; the case has been under investigations by police for several months.
For our updated, 651-event International Sports Calendar (no. 2) for 2023 and beyond, by date and by sport, click here!