VANOC: $1.8B budget balanced

By BOB MACKIN, QMI Agency

VANCOUVER - Organizers of the 2010 Winter Olympics reported Friday they balanced a $1.884-billion budget after receiving $187.8 million from taxpayers.

VANOC released its first financial statements in almost a year. Among the statements was the revelation that Olympics organizers sold 1.49 million tickets for $260.3 million. More than 100,000 tickets for snow events were either cancelled or unsold. The report said another $9 million came from sales of Paralympic, Cultural Olympiad and test event tickets.

The budget was originally $1.63 billion in May 2007 and increased to $1.76 billion in January 2009 after the recession hit.

The British Columbia and federal governments contributed $187.8 million for the opening ceremony, torch relay, medical services and the Paralympic Games. They also split $580 million on venue construction.

VANOC lost $8 million on foreign exchange. The International Olympic Committee topped-up VANOC by contributing nearly $30 million after after July 31.

Whistler Olympic Park was the most expensive venue to build, with a price tag of $122.5 million, followed by the $105-million Whistler Sliding Centre.

The report said VANOC purchased 100% of the share capital of David Enterprise Productions Canada Ltd. from David Atkins Enterprises, the Australian production company of the opening and closing ceremonies, "for consideration" of $10.

Organizers of the last North American Olympics in Salt Lake City in 2002 reported just two months after their Games a $40-million profit. They had a $1.39-billion budget. The VANOC report was released Friday.

bob.mackin@sunmedia.ca

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