No big cuts seen in new 2010 Games budget

Tue Jan 20, 2009 4:54pm EST
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By Allan Dowd

RICHMOND, British Columbia (Reuters) - The budget for the 2010 Winter Olympics has been adjusted to reflect the weaker economy, but has not been cut significantly, a senior official of the Vancouver Games said on Tuesday.

The Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC) still expects to meet its revenue goals, although economic conditions have made corporate sponsors more cautious in their spending, said David Cobb, VANOC's executive vice president.

"Whereas six months ago we may have thought we would significantly exceed our revenue targets, we've been more conservative, and believe we'll achieve them. But some of the upside is gone," Cobb said.

"We hope that (the more optimistic target) comes back at some point. We still have 13 months until the Games," Cobb told reporters at the Olympic speed skating facility in Richmond, British Columbia, where VANOC was announcing a new corporate sponsor.

VANOC's board is expected to vote on Wednesday on its revised budget, although organizers said the budget will not be made public immediately.

The current operating budget for the Vancouver Games is about C$1.62 billion ($1.28 billion). The budget, which does not include venue construction, is funded by sales of tickets and merchandise along with sponsorship deals.

"There haven't been a lot of cuts ... it is very similar in magnitude with the budget we prepared a couple of years ago," said Cobb, adding that revisions involve reallocating spending.

VANOC's board reviewed a revised budget last month, but told managers to keep working on the plan out of concern they have been overzealous in trimming expenses.   Continued...