2010 Winter games seen unhurt by economic turmoil

Thu Oct 16, 2008 7:01pm EDT
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By Allan Dowd

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) - Preparation and marketing efforts for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Canada have not been hurt so far by global financial turmoil, organizers said on Thursday.

Vancouver games organizers reported their latest fiscal year ended with a C$48.1 million deficit, but said they had expected a deficit as preparations advanced and still project the final C$1.6 billion budget to break even.

About 79 percent of the projected revenues have been committed and most of the remaining money will come from ticket sales, said John McLaughlin, chief financial officer for the Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC).

"We are feeling pretty good about the revenue side of things. Even though none of the ticketing money is committed yet, we are seeing some of the orders people are placing ... and we're quite confident we will hit our ticket sales (targets)," McLaughlin said.

VANOC will discuss the global financial situation with the International Olympic Committee next week, but McLaughlin said the IOC has given no indication it will not be able to keep its financial obligations to the event.

McLaughlin also said VANOC has not asked for any additional guarantees from the City of Vancouver, responsible for building the facilities where most athletes will stay in the Pacific coast city.

Published reports have said the developer building the athletes village has struggled with C$60 million in cost overruns, and the city is responsible for ensuring it is completed in time for the Games.

(Editing by Todd Eastham)