Decisions, Decisions: Four IOC Presidents and Their Collective Embrace of Olympic Commercialism

Tuesday, Feb 23, 2021

1:30pm - 3:00pm

Lecture by:
Stephen Wenn

Professor Wenn will explore the tenures of four IOC Presidents, Avery Brundage (1952-1972), Lord Killanin (1972-1980), Juan Antonio Samaranch (1980-2001), and Jacques Rogge (2001-2013), focusing on their approaches to, and decision-making concerning, commercial revenue. Brundage and Killanin dealt with the emergence of satellite technology and its upward push on the value of sport television properties, and how to position the IOC in this new world. Samaranch and Rogge navigated a changing environment due to globalization and the attractiveness of the Olympic Games as a promotional platform for multi-national companies. Debates linger concerning the IOC’s embrace of commercialism, but no one can challenge the fact that the IOC’s reserve fund, totaling over a billion dollars (raised over the years from its share of television rights fees and corporate sponsorship contracts) shortly after Thomas Bach became IOC President in 2013, is central to the IOC’s efforts to weather the fiscal chaos and challenge wrought by Covid-19.

About The Lecturer

Stephen Wenn

Stephen Wenn is a Professor in Laurier’s Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education. A native of London, Ontario, and graduate of Oakridge Secondary School, he holds Hons BA and MA degrees (Physical Education) from Western University and his PhD. (Exercise and Sport Science) from Penn State University. He specializes in Olympic history with a focus on commercial revenue and the Olympic Games. He is co-author of Selling the Five Rings: The International Olympic Committee and the Rise of Olympic Commercialism (2002, rev. ed., 2004), and lead author of Tarnished Rings: The International Olympic Committee and the Salt Lake City Bid Scandal (2011), and more recently, The Gold in the Rings: The People and Events that Transformed the Olympic Games (2020).