By Nick Butler at the Gehua New Century Hotel in Beijing

The cost of the high speed railway, repeatedly cited by Beijing 2022 as a key part of their bid, remains unknown ©Beijing 2022Beijing 2022 have pitched the commercial potential of their Olympic and Paralympic plans to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Evaluation Commission here today, but have still not revealed wider spending costs associated with the bid.

According to their Candidature File submitted to the IOC in January, the "balanced" Organising Committee budget would be $1.98 billion (£1.3 billion/€1.8 billion) in projected 2022 value.

Construction and renovation work on the venues would cost $1.6 billion (£1.1 billion/€1.5 billion), although not all of this is included in the budget because four proposed venues are already planned.

They will be built regardless of the bid proving successful, it is claimed. 

In comparison, the budget of Beijing's only rival Almaty is listed as $2.1 billion (£1.4 billion/€1.9 billion) in projected 2022 value, although around $500 million (£336 million/€466 million) has since been cut from this figure as part of changes made following the IOC's visit to Kazakhstan last month.

This figure, however, does not include wider infrastructural costs indirectly associated with the Games.

Beijing's spending is likely to be far higher than its rival due to construction of a high speed railway line and two new highways linking the capital city and Zhangjiakou, the mountain venue 190 kilometres to the north-west.

Following the furore over the much reported wider infrastructural budget of $51 billion (£34 billion/€47 billion) for Sochi 2014, the IOC is keen to differentiate between organisational and infrastructural costs.

But a refusal to declare wider spending - as Beijing 2022 and other Chinese officials have repeatedly done here this week - will again raise fears among the IOC about lack of transparency which overshadowed the build-up to the Summer Olympics and Paralympics here in 2008. 

The IOC Evaluation Commission, pictured at the Genting Ski Resort during their visit to Zhangjiakou, are still seeking answers over the infrastructure costs ©Beijing 2022The IOC Evaluation Commission, pictured at the Genting Ski Resort during their visit to Zhangjiakou, are still seeking answers over the infrastructure costs ©Beijing 2022

Bid Committee officials claim they do not know the cost of railway line because it is a Government project that was proposed anyway.

But development has been brought forward due to the Olympics, with the project repeatedly promoted as a core strength, reducing travel time from Beijing to Zhangjiakou from three hours by car to 50 minutes by train.

Zhang Chunsheng, executive director of the Zhangjiakou Operation Centre, revealed today how these trains, each carrying around 1,500 people in 16 carriages, will run every five minutes in peak time and every 15 minutes in less busy times, travelling at 250km per hour.

It will take advantage of new technologies and be among the most advanced railways in China, he claimed.

But this advanced nature, as well as the largely mountainous terrain between the two cities, 
is bound to increase costs hugely.

"The Beijing 2022 Games-related budget is very low and is in strict compliance with the IOC's Agenda 2020 requirements," insisted the bid's media and communications director Wang Hui.

Marketing and finance was a key issue on the last full day of Evaluation Commission inspections here today, with the IOC Panel having now completed their visit to proposed venues sites in Beijing, Zhangjiakou and the third cluster in between the two in Yanqing.

The medals plaza close to Beijing 2022's proposed freestyle and Nordic skiing venues at Zhangjiakou ©Beijing 2022The medals plaza close to Beijing 2022's proposed freestyle and Nordic skiing venues at Zhangjiakou ©Beijing 2022

"Tremendous commercial potential" for the Olympic Movement from Beijing 2022 was outlined, with sport and tourism projected to have reached 20 per cent of local GDP (Gross Domestic Product) by 2022.

Beijing 2022's overall marketing revenue target has been "conservatively" set at $858 million (£576 million/€791 million), the IOC were told.

Around 80 per cent of this figure should be sponsorship revenue while the remainder would be raised through licensing and ticketing programmes.

Eight major sponsors have already been signed, including Tencent Group, the fourth largest internet company in the world, Snow Beer, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Beijing Bank, with others having "indicated a wish" to be involved.

In comparison, Almaty's finances seem less certain, despite all the relevant Government Guarantees, with the only currently declared sponsor being the National Welfare Fund Samruk-Kazyna, of which the Kazakh State is sole shareholder.

The five day inspection visit will come to a close here in the Chinese capital tomorrow, which will then leave a four-month period before the IOC membership is due to choose between the two Asian contenders at its Session in Kuala Lumpur on July 31.

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