IOC must count the pennies

Sports federations refusing to modernise and embrace professionalism will be doomed to fail as the global sports business experiences unprecedented financial growth, the Olympic sports federations' umbrella organisation said on Thursday.

The 26 federations which took part in the 2012 London Olympics will divide up more than half a billion American dollars in International Olympic Committee money, the largest amount ever dished out by the Olympic body.

They shared less than US$300 million ($383m) only four years earlier at the Beijing Olympics, Andrew Ryan, general director of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) said.

"This is a very significant increase," Ryan said. "In Barcelona in 1992, that figure was less than US$30m in total and federations divided up about US$1.5m each."

After what Ryan said was the "phenomenal success" of the London Olympics last year, federations, split in four groups, made no less than US$14m and as much as US$47m for athletics.

Rankings have been recalculated for the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympics, placing 28 sports - including new ones golf and rugby - into five groups.

"Sport is growing globally and international federations (IFs) see the same growth in their own revenues as in the revenues from the Olympics," Ryan said.

"The IFs are ramping up their revenues."

He said income distributed from the Rio Games would again be in the US$500m range due to the long-term TV deals that have been agreed years before, the main source of the federations' Olympic revenues.

But as Olympic revenues grow every four years, so will international federations earnings.

TV money

Broadcasting revenues alone, the biggest source of income for the IOC, are predicted to top US$4b until 2016.

"The future for federations is to think ahead, have a strategic plan. There will be casualties... those who fail to understand and modernise," Ryan said.

One of the federations that failed to read the writing on the wall was wrestling, which lost its spot in the 2020 Olympics in February.

The federation jumped into action, overhauling the sport and its administration in the past seven months to make a shortlist along with softball/baseball and squash for inclusion back in the Olympics and the Games's financial gravy train.

"One of the consequences (of this growth) is that the gap between Olympic sports and non-Olympic sports is growing," Ryan said.