They're not the Salt Lake Organizing Committee, and they're not the U.S. Olympic Committee. But they're responsible for raising more than $800 million for the Olympics from a downtown office.

And unless you're a top-level decisionmaker for a major American corporation like General Motors, Texaco or Anheuser-Busch, you probably won't be hearing from them anytime soon.They're OPUS, the Olympic Properties of the United States, the company created to jointly market the 2002 Winter Games and the U.S. Olympic teams through 2004 and beyond.

OPUS is hardly likely to ever become a household name, but that's just fine with the small band of sales and support personnel responsible for signing up corporate sponsors.

"We see ourselves as the good guys, who are out beating the bushes to assist SLOC in their job, which is to put on the Games," OPUS' Chris Sullivan said. "We're here behind the scenes."

Sullivan left the Olympic Regional Development Authority in Lake Placid, N.Y., last year to become assistant director of sponsor support services. He's the highest-ranking official working out of OPUS's Salt Lake headquarters.

Right now he's one of only a half-dozen people there. That's counting the two University of Utah interns who are research assistants, along with a receptionist, retail stores manager and public relations director.

There are two account executives in Colorado Springs, where the USOC is based, and two more are expected to be hired for the Salt Lake office shortly. By 2002, OPUS should have 35 employees here.

The whole operation is headed by John Krimsky, the USOC deputy secretary general and managing director, business affairs. Call him the country's chief Olympic fund-raiser.

"Everybody at OPUS is a salesman," Krimsky said. "We've got a lot of money to raise." Being able to sell the 2002 Winter Games along with the U.S. Olympic teams makes that job easier.

Recently, Krimsky reported to the SLOC board of trustees - and to the OPUS board, which includes SLOC and USOC officials - that nearly 70 percent of the $806 million anticipated from corporate sponsors has been raised.

So far, the costliest sponsorships have been selling the fastest. Six companies are paying an average of $58 million each to sponsor the 2002 Games and the U.S. Olympic teams, and two more are expected to sign soon.

That's up from the five companies OPUS figured on signing as so-called benchmark partners at an average of $50 million apiece. The next level of sponsors is on track, with seven of the 12 expected already signed.

The supplier category, though, is another story. Just one company has agreed to spend $6 million to join the lowest level of national sponsorship available. Projections call for 23 companies to spend an average of $10 million each.

"We're pleased with where sponsorship sales have been, but we don't view it as a windfall," said Kelly Flint, senior vice president of law and commerce for SLOC.

The $806 million goal includes $454 million in cash and $337 million worth of goods and services, plus an additional $15 million in both cash and services toward the cost of hosting the Paralympics.

About $105 million of the cash goal will be distributed to the International Olympic Committee and NBC, which get a cut of corporate sponsorship revenue, and used to cover OPUS expenses.

The rest of the cash is split between Utah's Olympic organizers and the USOC. SLOC's share is expected to add up to about one-fourth of the $1 billion-plus it's costing to put on the Games.

Right now, SLOC's share adds up to about $146 million. How those revenues are divided is the subject of an agreement between SLOC and the USOC that took nearly two years to negotiate.

Basically, the terms give SLOC 70 percent of the cash raised, up to $244 million. At that point, the split shifts in the USOC's favor. SLOC expects to collect another $10 million in cash, plus the $15 million for the Paralympics.

The trouble it took to make the marketing deal has since led the USOC to toughen requirements on cities bidding to become America's choice to host future Olympics.

Now those cities have to agree to joint marketing terms long before being selected. For the 10 cities competing to be the USOC's pick for the 2012 Summer Games, the deadline is later this year.



Olympic Properties of the United States

President: Chairman:

John Krimsky Frank Jocklik

USOC Deputy Secretary General SLOC Chief Executive Officer



... Partners: Salt Lake Organizing

... Committee, U.S. Olympic Committee

... |



... Sell sponsorships to 2002 Olymoic

... Games and U.S. Olympic Games

... |



... GOAL:

... Cash $454 million

... Goods and services $337 million

... Paralympics $15 million

... TOTAL: $806 million

... Goal: $806 million

... Signed: $548 million

... |



... Sponsorship Breakdown*

Benchmark partners

Goal: $250 million - 5 at $50 million each

Signed: $350 million - 6 at $58 million each

Domestic sponsors

Goal: $324 million - 12 at $27 million each

Signed: $192 million - 7 at $27 million each


Goal: $232 million - 23 at $10 million each

Signed: $6 million - 1 at $6 million each

*All amounts are averages

SOURCE: Olympic Properties of the United States