16 September 2010

S$387 million. the cost to host first YOG 2010

Singapore spent S$387m to host YOG@CNA

SINGAPORE: Singapore would still bid for the Youth Olympic Games (YOG), even if it knew it would have to spend S$387 million to host it.

Community Development, Youth and Sports Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said this in Parliament on Wednesday, in response to questions about the increased spending for the Games.

He said the government underestimated the requirements and costs for several major functional areas.

But he assured that spending on other ministry programmes was not affected.

Singapore won the bid to host the Games, with an initial budget of some S$104 million.

But this ballooned to S$387 million, when requirements to ensure the Games' success became clearer.

Dr Balakrishnan said: "Our initial budget estimates during the bid phase were clearly inaccurate. We got it wrong. This was the first Youth Olympic Games in the world. Quite frankly, both the IOC and us were starting from scratch. In fact, the finalised specifications and standards for the YOG events were only determined after we were selected to host the Games.

"There was another alternative, I could have blindly cut the budget, and deliver a substandard Games which would not have been the right decision."

Big tickets items contributed to the higher expenditure. One was in the area of technology, with its projected cost being about S$97 million.

Upgrading sports venues and equipment accounted for S$76 million, while providing live broadcast cost S$45.5 million.

Another S$7 million was spent on the journey of the Youth Olympic Flame.

Dr Balakrishnan said: "Initially the IOC was not keen on having an international torch relay because of the controversy that surrounded the Beijing Olympics.

“But this was the first Youth Olympic Games and also because they had the confidence in us being able to organise this without any major mishaps."

Dr Balakrishnan said it was also important to put things into context. The YOG was about one-third the size of the Beijing Olympics in 2008. But Singapore's projected expenses was only 10 per cent of Beijing's reported operating expenditure.

All in, it was money well spent.

"It achieved the objectives which IOC had set out, achieved the objectives which we had set out. And we wanted to do a Games which was doable by a city around the size of Singapore, as we may never have the opportunity to host the Olympic Games," said Deputy PM and Defence Minister Teo Chee Hean. He is also the president of the Singapore National Olympic Council.

"I think we have been able to achieve all those objectives. I think all Singaporeans should be proud of it. It was money well spent - I am quite clear about it," he added.

Other expenses went to the culture and education programme, security, and operational requirements like language translation and interpretation, laundry and catering services at the Youth Olympic Village.

On revenue, Dr Balakrishnan said merchandise and ticket sales are expected to bring in S$7 million.

The Games also received up to S$60 million worth of sponsorship in kind and S$7.6 million in cash sponsorship from companies like Samsung, ATOS, Panasonic and DBS.

Singapore's economy also benefited, as about 70 per cent of contracts from the overall budget of S$367 million were awarded to local companies.

Another S$46 million to overseas companies with local subsidiaries.

The Games also laid a strong foundation for a sporting culture. This is particularly in the areas of sports spectatorship, community involvement, as well as volunteer engagement.

In this regard, Dr Balakrishnan said his ministry plans to have a committee to review Singapore's athlete development framework.

The committee will also suggest ways to enhance the education and career options for national athletes.

Details will be announced within the next six months.

No comments: