Vancouver city council has released a report detailing plans to use the ‘Olympic Legacy Reserve Fund‘ to cover extra costs related to hosting the winter games. Words like ‘legacy’ are often used to indicate something long-term and ‘reserve’ sure sounds like it would be something extra set aside for a rainy day.
But opponents say that far from providing long-term legacies, as its name implies, the fund amounts to an Olympic operations budget.
Among the items it covers are a $1.4-million communications campaign, $1 million for the city’s host pavilion, $2 million for hosting dignitaries and $2 million for the “look” of the city during the Olympics.
The $20 million is a significant amount in a city budget where $5 million represents a one-per-cent tax increase.
But there we are, all the extra costs from hosting the games are accounted for.. If you happen to believe that, I have a wonderful second-hand bridge that I can sell to you for a tremendous bargain.
On a related note I found this article on Forbes about the ‘winners curse‘ that many host cities experience – the one exception being the 1984 LA summer games which actually turned a tidy profit since they had most of their infrastructure already in place and didn’t require a lot of extra construction:
“When multiple cities bid, each has a different view of what the revenues will be, and the one with the brightest economic forecast usually wins,” says Evan Osborne, an economist at Wright State University. But often, tourism revenue, job creation and ticket sales don’t pan out as expected, leaving local taxpayers with what Osborne calls “The Winner’s Curse.”
Former Salt Lake City Deputy Mayor Brian Hatch, a key player in securing that city’s winning bid for the 2002 Winter Games, recalled showing some Beijing officials around that year to help them prep for their city’s hosting role in 2008. They found hotel rooms at nonevent ski resorts easy to come by.
“People tend to avoid Olympic cities the year of the event, thinking it will be too crowded,” Hatch says.