Vancouver Olympic committee awaits $30M from IOC

While payments from 2010 Winter Olympics sponsors are rolling in, Vancouver organizers are still waiting for $30 million in funding from the International Olympic Committee.

While payments from 2010 Winter Olympics sponsors are rolling in,  Vancouver organizers are still waiting for $30 million in funding from the International Olympic Committee.

The IOC is having trouble lining up sponsors in the current economic climate, according to Dave Cobb, senior vice-president for revenue, marketing and communications on the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC).

"Agreements are much tougher to sign than they were a year or two ago, but there's still a reasonable level of optimism within the IOC that they'll be able to conclude more agreements," said Cobb.

VANOC's latest quarterly report, released Tuesday, showed it has $127 million in cash on hand just eight months after reporting a $65-million deficit. 

Money from sponsors has helped to push the organizing committee's balance sheet into the black, as have millions of dollars from ticket sales.

VANOC's chief financial officer, John McLaughlin, told a news conference the economic downturn has affected suppliers, and they are "cautious or unable to get involved with us due to the economic conditions."

Financing problems

"We had a supplier who appeared to have what we thought was a winning bid. In the end, they couldn't get the financing to go forward so we had to go back and negotiate with another company and that cost us more," said McLaughlin.

He said that while there's money in the bank for now, 62 per cent of the overall spending is still to come.

"While some experts are saying the worst is behind us, we don't believe we'll see a marked improvement in the 240 days left until the Games begin," McLaughlin said.

Officials said they have no plans to loosen the purse strings, but the committee did draw $8.3 million from a $9-million contingency fund to spend on the opening and closing ceremonies.

Organizers said they considered the amount a worthwhile investment, despite the fact it leaves less than a million dollars left to cover any unforeseen costs to do with venues in the lead up to the Games.

The organization's chief financial officer, John McLaughlin, said his team is watching every penny, balancing costs and service levels against commitments to athletes, spectators and partners.

The next financial update is planned for sometime in the fall.

With files from The Canadian Press