SYDNEY, Australia (AP) -- Olympic officials are confident that Sydney 2000 organizers can combat the "ambush advertising" that marred the 1996 Atlanta Games.
IOC marketing director Michael Payne, who was in Sydney for 10 days of meetings with 60 Olympic sponsors, said Friday that tough legislation and other measures would protect Olympic partners against unlicensed marketing from rivals attempting to cash in on the games.
"It's not just a case of ambush marketing between companies -- it's also very much that you don't ambush the city's image," he said. "That's what happened in Atlanta. It wasn't so much the competitive marketing that was going on, it was the city's actions ambushing their own image."
Payne said unlicensed advertising was "nothing more than cheating."
Asked to describe ambush advertising, he said: "You know it when you see it."
Companies that set up illegal sidewalk stalls or participate in other non-sanctioned promotions or sample giveaways near venues, hang banners from bridges on motorways or tow advertising behind aircraft flying over venues are examples of ambush advertising.
"We have successfully plugged all the major loopholes," Payne said, referring to the Olympic Arrangements Act introduced by the New South Wales state government, which is underwriting the Sydney Games.
Only paying sponsors will be allowed access to advertising space in or around all Olympic venues and in six "Olympic Live" sites around the city, where giant screens will simulcast broadcasts during the Sept. 15-Oct. 1 games.
Payne said the city also would be the domain of Olympics sponsors because the Olympic Arrangements Act provides tough financial penalties for non-sanctioned advertising in any form within designated distances of Olympic venues.
"Never before have (sponsors) had this level of protection," he said. "I think we have been able to address far more than I expected all of the problems we encountered in Atlanta."
Payne said the strategies devised by Sydney organizers would become a blueprint for future games.
Mike Bushell, general manager of marketing for the Sydney organizing committee, said the sponsorship revenue would exceed $445 million when the last two sponsors are confirmed within two weeks.
Payne called that a "gold medal effort."