Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The USOC has 15-million reasons to love 'BP' and they are all named after "George Washington"

The USOC has 15-million reason to love BP and they all contain the name George Washington in it but how many reasons do the athletes have?

It was February 2010 and British Petroleum was about to announce that they were going to become a proud sponsor of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).

The USOC needed this deal and they needed it badly for they had suffered a great loss when their “shoe-in” candidate, Chicago 2016, did not even make it passed the first round of the International Olympic Committee selection process for the 2016 Games.

To rub salt on the wound, the President of the United States was internationally humiliated by this rejection along side the USOC after flying in on Air Force One from Washington to “close the deal” but instead of “closing the deal” both his charisma and diplomatic skills were questioned in the global press for days.

BP had paid the organization $15-million dollars for this sponsorship deal and obviously part of the deal was to have complete access to US athletes, their likenesses, and their names for commercials and collateral branding for the company.

Then two months later on April 20th, 2010 an oil rig named the Deepwater Horizon exploded creating the worst ecological disaster the Gulf of Mexico has ever seen. An incomprehensible amount of oil continues to flood the Gulf each day and most of the fingers are pointed at BP when in reality this ecological disaster was a “team effort” starting with the federal government all the way down-the-line to the engineers who planned the effort and the people who dug the hole.

Apparently the US Government had granted BP the rights to drill despite the fact that the United States government had no technology nor the expertise to clean up an oil spill of “Biblical proportions” and neither did BP. It is a shame that the USA, also blinded by energy needs and a 40% royalty on every barrel drilled, could not predict the consequences if something went horribly wrong, and as usual, something always goes horribly wrong.

Fast forward to 2012: This disaster is now posing problems for Olympians tied to environmental causes and charities for how credible would an athlete look if they were endorsing an oil company when their particular charity was geared towards ocean health? The USOC is also oblivious to athlete concerns since they will not return BP’s money nor will they allow athletes to exclude themselves from participating with a sponsor they do not support.

It is clear to me that the USOC looks at athletes as nothing more than “branding engines” for our country, their organization, and their own personal gain.

The proof comes to us in an Article by, Eddie Pells, of Associated Press, “…The U.S. Olympic Committee intends to maintain its partnership with BP, hoping the company that provides about $15 million in sponsorship funding through 2012 can find "as quick a solution as possible" to the crisis in the Gulf. …”

No mention is made what they will do if the Gulf cleanup takes weeks, months or years. Just the word hope as they take the money their "branding engines" earned them and spend it on anything but athlete salaries.

Photo: Above BP execs are shown some love by the USOC


Anonymous said...

I don't believe there are many people who follow oil biz finances who actually believe BP will be able to make good on this financial commitment.

Tony Austin said...

Really? Is is because the disaster will cost them most of their profits?

I just did a search and saw that they made $5.5-billion last quarter.

Anonymous said...

Here's a sighting of the tip of the iceberg:

Note this quote, from one of Houston's best:

“This is the cash cow that is paying out the claims in the Gulf and can probably weather the storm,” said Dan Pickering, a principal with research firm and investment bank Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. “They're worth more alive than dead to almost every party.”

But others suggest that, to shield the parent (and its stockholders) from the liabilities, BP should spin off the US operations and put it into Chapter 11. Note, for example, that BP is self-insured. And note that the BP guy felt compelled to deny ("categorically," no less - one of the stupidest things any corporate spokesperson can say) this possibility.

Even without a bankruptcy, ask yourself: BP is under pressure to stop paying its dividend, which floats lots of pension funds in the UK - so how is it going to spend money on a promotion that will raise its visibility at a time when the best advice is to shut up?

Tony Austin said...

Wow, you hit that one out of the park!

Anonymous said...

Would anyone seriously consider putting BP into Chapter 11? Well, if you're a member of the American Bankruptcy Institute, you will be able to listen to a program on that very subject. Here's a description:

"BP May Consider Bankruptcy to Avoid "Perpetual" Liability, According to Experts

"Experts looking at a hypothetical bankruptcy filing by BP PLC on an ABI media teleconference yesterday said that BP has several options to explore in dealing with the worst environment disaster in U.S. history, but the oil giant may consider bankruptcy if it faces a never-ending flow of claims..."