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IOC finances booming, reserves close to $1 billion: Rogge

By Karolos Grohmann

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - The International Olympic Committee's financial reserves edged close to one billion dollars in 2012 up from just $105 million when outgoing president Jacques Rogge took over 12 years ago, he said in his final report on Sunday.

Rogge, who succeeded Spaniard Juan Antonio Samaranch in 2001 and is stepping down on Tuesday, has overseen an unprecedented financial growth within his organization despite the economic turmoil of recent years.

He said the IOC's finances were boosted by steadily growing revenues from broadcast and sponsorship deals.

"Since 31 December 2001 our reserve has seen its assets grow from $105 million to $901 million at December 31, 2012," Rogge told the IOC session in the Argentine capital.

"This financial solidity is due to the success of sponsorship revenue and television rights," said the Belgian surgeon.

Rogge had been eager to boost reserves during his presidency, especially after the 2008 economic downturn, in order to secure his organization's existence in the case of a Games cancellation or other unexpected event.

"This reserve, linked with a Games cancellation insurance policy, assures the continued functioning of the IOC in the event of a major Games crisis."

He said broadcasting rights revenues for the period 2014-16 had raked in $4 billion with several territories still to be finalized.

The total figure of TV revenues for the period 2002-04 was almost half that, at $2.2 billion.

"Globally speaking, the television rights market is clearly a very solid one and we are obviously not suffering from the drop in TV revenues predicted by many," he said.

Top sponsor deals have generated $1 billion for the period 2013-16 from 10 companies, with at least one more deal expected in the coming months.

Revenues stood at $663 for the 2001-04 period when Rogge took over.

"However, even if our financial situation is solid...we must still remain realistic," said Rogge.

"The world is in a global economic crisis. The IOC must ensure that it continues and intensifies its policy on controlling the cost, size and complexity of the Games."

The IOC confirmed this position on Saturday, picking Tokyo to host the 2020 Games, with the bid seen as financially more solid than candidacies from recession-hit Spain's Madrid and Turkish metropolis Istanbul.

(Editing by Ed Osmond)

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