IOC Says No Fear Of Backlash From US Sponsors

The International Olympic Committee's marketing boss believes Chicago's rejection by Olympic voters will not affect the status of Illinois-based McDonald's as a leading sponsor.

"(McDonald's) have told us absolutely no," IOC director of television and marketing Timo Lumme told the Associated Press on Sunday. "The choice of host city is absolutely irrelevant to the TOP partners in general."

McDonald's is part of The Olympic Partners (TOP) program, nine global sponsors who are paying $900 million to $920 million for the 2010-2012 period covering the Vancouver Winter Olympics and London Games.

But the manner of Chicago's first-round exit in voting Friday to choose a 2016 host prompted suggestions of a backlash in the United States against the Olympic Movement.

McDonald's, which has its headquarters in Oak Brook near Chicago, has a 33-year official partnership with the IOC. It has yet to renew its TOP agreement for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics and the 2016 Summer Games that will be held in Rio De Janeiro.

Lumme said the sponsor program was a "tried and trusted marketing vehicle." Commercial backing provides around one-third of the IOC's total revenues.

He said U.S. viewers would not care about Chicago's defeat when the Vancouver Olympics begin Feb. 12.

"There will be full-on Olympic fever," he said. "The American public will be focusing on supporting their athletes and their team.

"(The Olympic Games) is what it is all about, it's the excitement. I think everything else will be consigned to a footnote."

Lumme said the IOC still hoped to add one or two more TOP sponsors for the Vancouver-London cycle.

The IOC already has five companies _ Panasonic, Samsung, Omega, Coca-Cola and Atos Origin _ signed up though 2016.