Bank of America will walk away from its sponsorship with the U.S. Olympic Committee unless the federation finds a way to provide more bang for the 12 million bucks it spends supporting American athletes.
USOC chief marketing officer Lisa Baird told the Associated Press she received that unexpected message from the bank last Friday, putting the future of one of its most important sponsorship deals in jeopardy.
Home Depot and General Motors already have declined to renew long-term sponsorships with the USOC, and Bank of America could be next.
The bank provided between $12 million and $15 million in the 4 years ending in 2008, as well as the "Hometown Heroes" center for athletes and their families at the Olympics.
"The inability to generate sufficient results from our sponsorship is what led to this decision," said Joe Goode, Bank of America's senior vice president of global media relations. "However, Bank of America remains in discussions with the USOC on exploring alternative ways to continue our support."
Goode said the bank decided that while it liked being tied to the Olympic movement, it didn't receive enough return on the investment. The potential loss, or reduction, of the Bank of America sponsorship comes at a particularly bad time for the USOC, a company that has acknowledged the financial times by laying off 13 percent of its staff in hopes of trimming $7.1 million from the 2009 budget.
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* A judge has rejected BALCO founder Victor Conte's motion for summary judgment of boxer "Sugar" Shane Mosley's defamation lawsuit. Mosley accuses Conte of lying when he repeatedly said the former three-division world champion knowingly took illegal performance-enhancing drugs. Mosley has said he unwittingly used steroids produced by BALCO.
* Alvaro Saborio scored 79 seconds in, the second-fastest goal against the United States in a World Cup qualifier, and host Costa Rica coasted to a 3-1 victory. The Americans come home to Chicago, where on Saturday they'll host Honduras.
* FIFA, soccer's governing body, said it turned a $184 million profit in 2008.
* Ron Anderson Jr., a 6-8 forward who played two seasons at Kansas State, is transferring to South Florida. He also had visited Temple and Pepperdine. His father, Ron Sr., played with the Sixers during a 10-year NBA career.
* Members of the Shinnecock Indian tribe said they are willing to consider Belmont Park, just outside New York City, as the location for the casino they want to open. The Shinnecock, whose earlier plans for a casino in Southampton, N.Y., sent shudders through their wealthy neighbors in 2003, reached an agreement with the U.S. Department of the Interior last week that speeds up the process for the tribe to receive formal recognition by the Bureau of Indian Affairs - necessary before any tribe can even consider opening a gambling facility.
* Former Indianapolis 500 driver Bob Christie has died at 85. *