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Sponsors gripe that they've been burned by the Atlanta games

They went to Atlanta to find gold, but with opening ceremonies just days away, the atmosphere among Olympic sponsors has turned decidedly leaden. Top-tier sponsors say the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games has undermined the value of sponsorships by inking too many deals, slicing product categories too thin, and letting in lower-tier sponsors at bargain rates. "The Olympic franchise has been damaged almost beyond repair," says Robert R. Prazmark, head of 21st Century Marketing Group, an ex-consultant for the International Olympic Committee, which sells worldwide sponsorship rights.

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