Vancouver Games break even after spending $1.86B

BY foxsports • December 17, 2010

The 2010 Winter Olympics broke even.

The Vancouver organizing committee released its final budget Friday, saying it spent $1.86 billion to put on the games.

''The true measure of the 2010 Winter Games is not strictly financial, but a positive financial outcome is something we are very proud of in the story of the games' success,'' John Furlong, chief executive of the organizing committee, said in a statement.

''It is a key result we committed to and, through a true team effort, we have achieved it under some very challenging circumstances.''

The original budget was $1.61 billion, but that grew over the last three years because of the recession and other issues. While organizers said 91 percent of revenues came from corporate sources, taxpayers also helped ensure the games didn't go into the red.

Both the provincial and federal governments bailed out the organizing committee in the months before the Games, offering millions in additional funding. The International Olympic Committee also stepped in with an extraordinary cash commitment. Vancouver organizers had developed their initial budget in the belief there would be more international sponsors.

The financial report was released hours after a government report that showed the 2010 Winter Olympics have so far generated as much as $2.5 billion for British Columbia. The PricewaterhouseCoopers study said the first three months of 2010 alone put more than $851 million into the provincial economy.

The report is part of a series commissioned by the federal and provincial governments to track costs and benefits associated with hosting the games.

''We've always believed that the games would provide the catalyst for economic, social, and athletic development provincially and nationally,'' British Columbia Finance Minister Colin Hansen said in a statement.

The latest report examines all revenues generated since Vancouver won the bid in 2003, focusing on the months around the Olympics.

''Even in the shadow of economic hard times, the overall increase in visitors to B.C. in February 2010 was significant,'' the report said.

During the first three months of 2010, hotel revenues were $128 million higher than they would normally be in Vancouver and Whistler at that time of year. Revenue from restaurants and bars was up $127 million in the same time frame.

Earlier reports into the potential economic impact of the Olympics suggested the games could bring as much as $4.1 billion into the economy, through to 2015.

The study does not account for the economic impact of provincial spending on the games because that money would likely have been spent on other programs had the games not taken place. It also does not factor in corporate spending by Olympic sponsors or other companies.

The province of British Columbia released a report earlier this year saying it spent $912 million directly on the Olympics. The federal government spending estimates are about $1.18 billion, but a final accounting has yet to be released.

''It truly was a big bang,'' said Michael Calyniuk, who managed the study. ''The big question now is what's the follow on stimulus and the carry-over, which will continue year over year.''

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