Sunday, February 07, 2010

You Gotta Spend Money to Lose Money

The 2010 Winter Olympics are turning into a case study of how not to do things and calling into question whether the scale of the games are getting out of hand. While the voters of Vancouver in 2003 voted in favour of the event, the subsequent {mis}management resulting is cost overruns, poor decision-making, and moves that give the appearance of the event being a cash grab have soured many on the games. I think VANOC, the Vancouver City Council, and the Gordon Campbell BC Liberal government have set the stage for the games being a divisive wedge for years to come, given how the games are striving to break even, but only with a $22M injection from the International Olympic Committee.  Last January, before the BC provincial elections, Premiere Gordon Campbell stated there were no cost-overruns::


The handwriting was on the wall that this wasn't the case. Fast forward to last month, when, not surprisingly, a vast majority of Canadians think the games are going to have cost overruns, 84% across Canada and 90% in BC.

My feeling is that when the Olympics were being planned, the economy was stronger and many saw the games as a cash register and the scale got out of control. In terms of media, the astronomical broadcasting rights will be a moneypit for NBC and CTV will likely be a loser as well, due to a combination of high fees and reluctant advertisers reeling from the global recession.

Are there good things from the games to offset the negatives? Well, there is the Cultural Olympiad, which opened on 22 January and goes until 21 March, with quite a few free events. The Toronto Star has an overview here.

In this recession with the cost overruns and the bad optics

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