LOCOG CEO Deighton Says Games Will Come In Within Budget
LOCOG CEO Paul Deighton said that the $7.8M in “unaccounted contingency remains constant within the LOCOG operating budget” of $3.4B, according to Jacquelin Magnay of the London TELEGRAPH. Deighton said, "We are estimating to land right on target, there is a bit of movement on both sides but generally everything is going to plan." He added that last-minute costs "such as overtime for construction workers having to work nights and weekends to make up for bad weather delays will not impact on the budget.” Deighton was “upbeat about the finances" and said that ticket sales "continue to hit projected targets and the merchandising programme -- which includes the sale of specially commissioned Olympic torches for auction -- is going well.” There are about 300,000 "non-football Olympic tickets, 1.2 million football tickets and more than one million Paralympic tickets still to sell.” LOCOG execs have “restricted spectators bringing 3G data equipment into the Olympic venues because of interference problems with emergency services.” There may be “problems with Wi-Fi coverage at Olympic Park as well, following a breakdown in a deal between the different communications providers” (TELEGRAPH, 6/28).
NOT SO FAST, MY FRIENDS: CBS News' Erica Hill reports the London Games are “on-track to be the most over-budget Olympics since” the 1996 Atlanta Games. CBS News' Mark Phillips notes when it landed the Games in '05, LOCOG promised to "deliver a more measured approach" than the extravagant 2008 Beijing Games. Organizers pledged the event would cost under $4B, "too good a bargain it turned out.” Phillips: “Within two years, the London organizers had already admitted that the Games would cost about four times as much, about $15 billion, once taxes and security costs were included. Lately they’ve claimed they’re actually under budget by about three-quarters of a billion dollars. Not so fast.” Phillips noted London "is not unique,” as just about all Olympics "run way over budget.” Phillips: “In the past 50 years, the Olympics have run an average of 170% over their original costing estimates” (“CBS This Morning,” CBS, 6/28).
A NEW UPRISING: Rock band Muse will “provide the official song" for the London Games. The track "Survival" will “be played throughout sports sessions at official venues for the games, such as when athletes enter and during the build-up to medal ceremonies” (TELEGRAPH.co.uk, 6/28). REUTERS’ Alan Baldwin noted LOCOG officials unveiled a “tailored audio-visual concept on Wednesday, including a music programme with an official track by chart-toppers Muse and new work by top artists.” The officials “pledged to plug in to the crowd's energy and not drown it out.” A library of “2,012 songs has been compiled with five music themes -- energy, primetime, extreme, heritage and world stage -- tailored to accompany specific sports and venues.” All venues will have “presenters appearing on big screens to guide spectators through the action and 'interact' with the crowd.” Ticket holders will also “be able to purchase in-ear wireless headsets” at a price of $15.60 for “live commentary during the action at events that might otherwise be confusing or unfamiliar.” In addition, specially-commissioned films “will be shown before each session at venues, giving spectators an overview of the sport with action shots of former and current athletes and using graphics to explain the basic rules” (REUTERS, 6/27).