All of the 20 or more national corporate sponsors for the 2002 Winter Games should be signed by the end of next year, a Salt Lake Organizing Committee marketing official said.

"We do not want to be selling in the year 2002 or the year 2001," Don Stirling, managing director of marketing for SLOC, told members of the Salt Lake Chapter of the American Marketing Association on Thursday.So far, the list of sponsors includes Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Delta Airlines, General Motors, Home Depot, NationsBank, Texaco, US West, York International.

Others national-level corporate sponsors expected to be announced soon include Anheuser-Busch, makers of Budweiser beer; General Mills; and Merrill Lynch.

The same deadline goes for the 35 companies - including 20 to 25 based in Utah - that are expected to be named official suppliers to the 2002 Winter Games, Stirling said.

The difference between sponsors and suppliers is the amount of money invested in the Olympics. Sponsorships cost between $20 million and $80 million, while suppliers contribute $5 million to $10 million.

Those amounts include goods and services as well as cash, which are shared by the U.S. Olympic teams through the 2004 Summer Games in Athens, Greece, as well as organizers of the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City.

The eight-year sponsor and supplier packages are being sold through a joint venture of SLOC and the U.S. Olympic Committee, known as the Olympic Properties of the United States.

The Salt Lake City-based joint venture is in addition to the International Olympic Committee's worldwide sponsorship program that has officially announced Coca-Cola as an international sponsor for 2002.

In response to a question from one of the 30 or so local marketers in the audience, Stirling acknowledged that they likely own't won't be involved in the deals being made by the joint venture.

"You're right. The marketing of the Games has become very sophisticated and is being played at a very high level," Stirling said. "That is the reality we are dealing with."

But he said organizers are trying to create opportunities for Utahns to get involved in the 2002 Winter Games, suggesting that the marketing experts could become volunteers or ticket buyers.

"The Games are coming and we collectively need to work together to make them work," said Stirling, who recently returned from the 1998 Winter Games in Nagano.

The Japanese Olympics were Stirling's first, although as a former marketing executive with the NBA and other national sports organizations he's attended everything from basketball playoffs to the World Series to Super Bowls.

The Olympics, though, are special. "It still carries that fairy dust," he said. "I can tell you there's nothing like the Olympics. . .(for) plugging into emotions."