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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