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E-business company qualifies to host Olympic site

LogicTier will host the official Winter Games Web site for the 2002 Olympics and will be an official sponsor.

SAN FRANCISCO--The Summer Games in Sydney, Australia, haven't yet begun, but Salt Lake City has already started preparing its Web site for the 2002 Winter Games.

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Olympics press conference
The Salt Lake Organizing Committee (SLOC) today said here that Internet-infrastructure provider LogicTier will host the official Winter Games Web site for the 2002 Olympics and will be an official sponsor.

Under the terms of the deal, LogicTier will manage the back-end technology of the Salt Lake City Web site, but instead of being paid for its services, it will be granted the right to be an official Olympics sponsor.

Backed by venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, LogicTier was founded just last year and has announced few notable customers to date. But Mitt Romney, chief executive of the SLOC, said he felt the company was the best choice to manage the back-end portion of the Winter Olympics Web site. "They were able to provide a complete answer to our Internet infrastructure needs," he said.

The official Salt Lake City Olympics Web site will move to LogicTier's servers Sept. 11. In October, the site will begin selling tickets to the games. And early next year, the company will combine the Salt Lake City Olympics Web site with Olympics.com and NBCOlympics.com, both of which currently provide information on the Sydney games.

IBM is handling much of the back-end technology for the Sydney games, as it has for previous games. But the technology giant decided two years ago to cut its Olympics ties after this year's games.

In addition to ticket sales, event schedules and results, the Web site for the 2002 games will offer Olympic merchandise and memorabilia, allow volunteers to register online, and even provide real-time information on the weather.

But as is the case with this year's Sydney games, the site will not include online broadcasts of Olympic events. The International Olympic Committee has ruled that because such broadcasts are by their nature international, they would conflict with television's broadcast rights.

"We don't want to step on the rights that we've previously sold," Romney said. "We see the Internet as a supplement to television, not a substitute."

Despite the company's lack of experience in running big Web sites, LogicTier representatives promised 100 percent "uptime" for the Web site during the games. But such a guarantee could prove difficult to live up to.

IBM, for instance, was sharply criticized for technology troubles at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, when network problems delayed the collating and posting of event results.

But San Mateo, Calif.-based LogicTier employs a distributed network to balance server loads and will do a series of beta tests before the Olympics to ensure that the Web site will withstand peak demands, company representatives said.

"It's not an accident that this is being announced 18 months before the games," said Patrick Brem, co-founder and vice president of LogicTier. "It's going to take 18 months to be precise in the execution of this. We will be very prepared."