Marketing Expert on Audi Deal; Basketball Arena Sans Seats; Oprah Interviews Armstrong

(ATR) Olympics veteran analyzes Audi, IOC partnership ... Last seat removed from Basketball Arena in London ... Lance Armstrong goes "no-holds-barred" with Oprah ... More inside this Olympic Newsdesk ...

Olympic Marketing Expert on Audi Deal

Olympic marketing expert Davis Butler tells Around the Rings Tuesday’s news that Audi will sponsor the IOC means it's unlikely that a different automobile company will join the elite TOP sponsor ranks.

"Most of the other auto companies will back away from a TOP deal knowing that Audi will have the right to have rings on cars in Switzerland and possibly in other territories where the IOC holds its meetings," he said in an email to ATR. "Also this type of relationship with the IOC can be harmful to OCOG and NOC deals unless the OCOG and NOC territories are fully protected."

Deals between car companies and organizing committees as well as National Olympic Committees are lucrative sources of revenue.

Butler is the former director of the IOC's Olympic marketing company, and now runs a marketing firm in Atlanta.

He added NOCs could see an increase in mini-bus donations as part of the deal, which would be a "good side" of the deal. A key part of DaimlerChrysler's partnership was supplying small NOCs with mini-buses.

"There will be significant marketing restrictions placed on Audi," he added. "I have to question whether it makes sense for Audi to enter into such an arrangement with the IOC. I have represented other automobile companies to whom offers have been presented where the terms made no business sense at all. I hope Audi negotiated well."

Basketball Arena Sans Seats

The last of the seats is gone from the Basketball Arena as part of the ongoing transformation of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

New images released Tuesday by London Legacy Development Corporation show dramatic progress inside the venue, home to group stage hoops and handball knockout rounds during the Games.

Of the 12,000 seats removed from the Arena, more than 7,000 are already sold with another 3,000 to be reused at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Center at Eton Manor.

Dismantling of the Waterpolo Arena and Riverbank Arena in Olympic Park is also underway to make room for 850 new homes in the development of Chobham Manor.

Oprah Interviews Armstrong

Lance Armstrong plans to tell Oprah Winfrey about allegations over past use of performance-enhancing drugs on Jan. 17.

"Oprah Winfrey will speak exclusively with Lance Armstrong in his first no-holds-barred interview," a news release from Oprah’s network said. "Armstrong will address the alleged doping scandal, years of accusations of cheating, and charges of lying about the use of performance-enhancing drugs throughout his storied cycling career."

Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles in October after a review of evidence that suggested he had systematically engaged in doping for years. He also won a bronze medal at the Sydney Olympics, but the fate of that medal remains to be seen.

He has repeatedly denied doping at any point in his career.

Olympic Park Bomber Writing Autobiography

Eric Rudolph, the man found guilty of a bomb attack in Centennial Olympic Park during the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, is writing an autobiography.

For the cover, Rudolph requested a copy of the sketches the Georgia Bureau of Investigation used in his manhunt. The GBI said it has to comply, due to open records requests. According to WSB-TV in Atlanta, an agency spokesperson said it was "regrettable" they had to comply with Rudolph’s request.

As part of his plea agreement, Rudolph is unable to profit from works related to his crime, and all proceeds will be diverted to families of Rudolph’s victims.

Rudolph is serving a term of life in prison for the deaths of four individuals in separate bombings. One victim died in the Atlanta attack.

Fringe Party Calls for Olympic Ban

The Communists of Russia are calling for the U.S. to be banned from the 2014 Olympics, according to reports in Russian media.

It's unlikely that the proposal will garner much support. Reports say the idea was received "coolly" and that the party lacks legitimacy.

The fringe political party says it would be a more forceful response to the Magnitsky Act, which passed the U.S. Senate and was aimed to pressure Russia into human rights reform. Analysts say the bill damaged already tense relations between Russia and the U.S.

Written by Ed Hula III.

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