Vancouver Organizer Pledges To Balance Budget

The organizers of the Vancouver Olympics are promising to balance the budget for the games, presenting a brighter financial outlook than previous estimates.

John Furlong, the chief executive of organizing committee VANOC, said in his final progress report to the International Olympic Committee on Wednesday that the financial situation has improved in the last few months.

"I stand here today, and I tell you that I am absolutely confident that we will deliver these games on a balanced budget and leave a positive lasting legacy," Furlong told the IOC.

VANOC had previously reported a shortfall of up to $37 million on its $1.75 billion operating budget. The IOC has pledged financial assistance if the organizing committee ends up with a deficit.

However, Furlong said the projections show the games will at least break even and may make a surplus.

"We are in position to deliver the games now," Furlong told The Associated Press. "There is nothing about the project now that is not well analyzed. We know our costs, we have a pretty good handle on our revenues. And based on what is happening on that side, our view is that we will get to the finish line and have a positive (financial) outcome."

Deputy CEO Dave Cobb acknowledged that the global financial crises caused serious concerns for the organizing committee, but that they seem to have weathered the storm.

"Since September, we've noticed a real change in the level of optimism," Cobb said. "So we are now in a position where we are very comfortable that not only are we going to balance the budget, but we will deliver the project that ... we promised."

Furlong also said a new sponsor will be announced this month, but did not give any details of the deal.

"We have one, that we will be announcing," he said. "But we're not quite there yet, another week or so."

The Vancouver Games will be held Feb. 12-28.

Cobb said a final phase of ticket sales will start in November, with about 150,000 tickets still available. Most of those are for the preliminary rounds in men's and women's ice hockey and curling, he said.

In total, 1.6 million tickets will be sold, bringing in about $235 million in revenue.

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