Olympic budget includes $1.3 million for IOC hotel tab, $37.6 million for ceremonies

Saturday, January 12th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) _ The hotel tab for the International Olympic Committee is $1.3 million. Another $640,050 will cover Olympic family perks. Ceremonies will cost $37.6 million.

After all that, there's $32.8 million for sports.

The Olympics have grown into an expensive extravaganza, where the pomp, pageantry and the elaborate technology make up the bulk of the bill, a budget released to The Associated Press by organizers of the 2002 Winter Games shows.

The costs are so large, the logistics so daunting and economic payoff so meager that Salt Lake Olympic chief Mitt Romney has questioned whether U.S. cities should bother bidding for the games.

``It's a fair question for people to ask, `Is it worth it or not?''' Romney said Friday. ``My own position is the games make sense not as a money making enterprise but as a statement for peace.''

IOC president Jacques Rogge has said reducing the size and cost of the Olympics is a priority.

Many costs are mandated by the IOC, which requires Olympic cities to assume full financial responsibility.

When Salt Lake City signed its contract with the IOC, city attorney Roger Cutler complained in a memo that the deal was ``open-ended, one-sided and onerous.''

The city and games organizing committee must deploy ``a reliable system of transportation for the Olympic family.'' The cost is $322,201, with chauffeur-driven cars for IOC members.

It must book at least 1,000 rooms ``in such hotels as shall be designated by the IOC executive board.'' That expense is $1,358,232.

Romney said that even though the IOC will reimburse organizers for its own delegates' hotel rooms, ``we owe them a lot more money in royalties than they owe us.''

Many members of the Olympic entourage have an official function and are needed at the games, American IOC member Anita DeFrantz said Friday. They include translators, technical experts, judges, referees and members of a medical commission.

``This is equivalent of holding seven world championships (in winter sports) at the same time and the same place,'' DeFrantz said. ``President Rogge has already set up a working task force to examine how the games could be less expensive. We've know about it and worried about for some time.''