Economy hasn't nipped 2010 sponsor deals yet

Mon Dec 15, 2008 3:56pm EST
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By Allan Dowd

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) - Corporate sponsors for the 2010 Olympics, including General Motors Corp, remain up to date on their payments, despite the global economic turmoil, Canadian organizers said on Monday.

Managers of the Winter Games in Vancouver have secured more than 90 percent of the sponsorship deals included in the C$1.6 billion ($1.3 billion) operating budget, but most of the major agreements were signed before the economic crisis erupted.

Sponsors are telling organizers that support for the 2010 Games remains part of their marketing plans, even with the slowdown, Vancouver Organizing Committee Chief Financial Officer John McLaughlin said.

"We'd be naive to assume they are immune to (the economic downturn), and that some of them won't face challenges. But so far we have had good success with them and have no reason to believe they won't deliver on their requirements," McLaughlin told reporters on Monday.

VANOC signs sponsorship agreements with domestic companies, while the International Olympic Committee deals with international sponsors.

The organizing committee said last week it was updating its spending plans to reflect the slowing economy, with a revised operating budget expected to be released in January. Most venue construction is paid for by Canadian taxpayers.

VANOC released its financial report on Monday for its fiscal year ended October 31, showing it was still on budget and on schedule for venue construction.

The revised budget may increase the amount of contingency funds VANOC has set aside in case of last-minute cost increases or the sudden failure of a sponsorship deal.   Continued...

<p>Members of the Canadian long track speed skating team train on the new Richmond Oval in Richmond, British Columbia October 21, 2008. REUTERS/Andy Clark</p>