By David Owen

Kim_Yu-Na_with_Vancouver_name_behind_herDecember 19 - The organisers of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics did not let the global economic crisis prevent them from staging a memorable Games.

However, the Games only broke even because of an unprecedented offer of help from the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

It was in August 2009 that it emerged that the IOC had offered to help cover any budget deficit, on what IOC member and Finance Commission chairman Richard Carrión described subsequently as "a last in, first out basis".

Consolidated financial statements of the Vancouver Organising Committee (VANOC) for the whole period from September 2003 until end-July 2010 have now indicated that it achieved an exact balance of revenue and spending because "certain...revenues, namely the final portion of the IOC contribution, were recognised and received only as required to cover expenditures".

We still do not know how much this final commitment ended up costing the IOC.

The statements reveal only that the overall IOC contribution looks likely to come to C$485.6 million (£309.1 million).

In addition, VANOC received almost C$175 million (£111 million) as its share of the proceeds from the IOC's international sponsorship programme, commonly known as the TOP programme.

The vast majority of this though [C$138.5 million (£88.1 million)] took the form of so-called value-in-kind contributions, rather than cash.

For a full picture, it should be noted that the IOC also got money back from VANOC in the form of marketing royalties - C$74.1 million (£47.1 million) to be precise.

The bulk of this accrued from a requirement for VANOC to pay the IOC a 7.5 percent royalty on cash received pursuant to the commercial exploitation of VANOC's marketing rights and 5 percent on value-in-kind.

VANOC also paid the IOC approaching C$8 million (£5 million) as a management fee linked to sums received under the TOP programme.

Operating expenses ended up reaching C$1.88 billion (£1.19 billion).

This was rather higher than estimated in the build-up to the Games, presumably because of unplanned costs such as those associated with what the report describes almost poetically as the "no-snow scenario" at Cypress Mountain.


"Approximately C$5 million (£3 million) was spent on ensuring that there was sufficient snow to conduct the competitions at Cypress," the report goes on to reveal.

The biggest contribution to operating revenues came from the approximately C$740 million (£471 million) raised from the Games's domestic sponsors.

Some C$431 million (£274 million) of this was in cash, with more than C$300 million (£191 million) in value-in-kind.

Licensing and merchandising revenue, from products such as the famous red mittens, reached C$54.6 million (£34.7 million).

The Governments of Canada and the province of British Columbia contributed a total of C$187.8 million (£119.5 million) - almost the same as the sums paid out by VANOC in marketing rights royalties - towards operating activities.

Ticketing revenue, which reached just under C$270 million (£172 million), covered only 14 per cent of VANOC's operating costs, even though more than 97 percent of Winter Olympics tickets were sold.

It is perhaps not surprising in this hockey-mad nation that ice hockey accounted for more than 40 percent of ticketing revenue, generating C$111.9 million (£71.2 million).

The Olympic opening and closing ceremonies yielded  a further C$61.5 million (£39.1 million), at an average ticket price of more than C$700 (£445).


The average price of a ticket sold for Olympic Winter Games sporting competitions was C$139 (£88).

All told, revenues of more than C$2 billion (£1.2 billion) were raised, but C$186.8 million (£118.8 million) of this was earmarked for marketing rights royalties.

Besides the IOC, the other main beneficiary of these royalties was the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC).

Under a deal allotting a royalty of 16 per cent on cash and 12 per cent on value-in-kind contributions pertaining to the commercial exploitation of VANOC's marketing rights, COC is receiving C$110 million (£70 million), the maximum payment permitted.

VANOC paid the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) US$4 million (£2.5 million) for a package of rights related to the Paralympic Winter Games.

Most significant disclosures on the cost side included that the torch relays across this vast country produced C$35 million (£22 million) of expenses for VANOC's revenue, marketing and communications unit.

Spending on transportation reached C$173.5 million (£110.4 million), with C$92.6 million (58.9 million) attributable to bus systems and C$43 million (£27 million) to the vehicle fleet.

The full report is available by clicking here.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]