Olympic sports bodies want urgent talks with the International Olympic Committee about the risk of cuts in their revenue shares and medal events at the 2028 Los Angeles Games because cricket and other newcomers were added to the program.
The IOC last month approved cricket, baseball/softball, flag football, lacrosse and squash for 2028 and kept boxing, modern pentathlon and weightlifting — three sports whose status had been in doubt.
The umbrella group of current Summer Games sports, known by the acronym ASOIF, said Monday the decision to increase to a record 36 sports “has raised several questions” among its members, who collectively shared $540 million US of IOC-allocated money at each of the past two Olympics.
Most Olympic sports received between $13 million and $17.3 million from the pandemic-delayed Tokyo Games in 2021. For some, that was about half their total income over four years.
Adding four team sports in 2028 also is set to break the IOC’s preferred limit of 10,500 athletes at a Summer Games and likely will put pressure on the core Olympic sports to cut their quotas of athletes or even medal events. The IOC has set a target of early 2025 to confirm final quotas.
On Monday, ASOIF’s ruling council agreed “to raise these urgent matters with the IOC leadership” after meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland.
The council includes the presidents World Athletics, International Gymnastics Federation and World Aquatics, the top-tier Olympic sports.
Revenue share, athlete quotas among key issues
Track and field was given $38.5 million after the Tokyo Games, while gymnastics and swimming each was handed about $31.4 million of the IOC’s total revenue from broadcasters and sponsors of $7.6 billion from 2017-21. Adding cricket is expected to raise the IOC’s broadcast deal in India by at least $100 million.
Key issues for Olympic sports as the Games keep expanding are “revenue share, athlete quotas, Olympic qualification systems and games optimization,” ASOIF president Francesco Ricci Bitti said. Optimization is the current Olympic buzzword for trimming costs and services to help organizers control spending.
“These are the issues that hugely impact [international federation] operations and have far-reaching effects on the entire Olympic Movement,” Ricci Bitti said in a statement.
The IOC did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the ASOIF request. The Olympic body is set to confirm revenue-sharing funds from the 2024 Paris Olympics after the event.
With Russia planning to stage a World Friendship Games weeks after the closing ceremony in Paris, ASOIF cautioned its members Monday about their involvement in a potential rival to the Olympics. Moscow and Yekaterinburg are set to host the games in September.
The Russian multi-sport event “is not conducive to dialogue within the sports world during these challenging times,” ASOIF said.
The Russian Olympic Committee remains suspended by the IOC, but individuals can still be invited by some sports to compete as neutral athletes in international events if they don’t publicly support the war in Ukraine and don’t have ties to the military or state security agencies.