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  • ATR First: Coates Wants Further Olympics Budget Reduction


    (ATR) The head of the IOC Tokyo 2020 Coordination Commission says a further $1 billion can be slashed from the Games' operating budget.

    Coates speaks with ATR during the IOC Session (ATR)
    John Coates, speaking with Around the Rings at the 2017 IOC Session, said the IOC is committed to work with Tokyo organizers as part of a larger effort to reduce the cost of the Olympics. So far the IOC has worked to reduce the operational costs to $5.5 billion, with a goal of reducing that even further.

    “We really think we need to be targeting something like half a billion dollars reduction for the Winter Games and one billion dollar reduction for the Summer Games,” Coates said to ATR on future reductions.

    “We’re looking at $5.5 billion, which is what Tokyo had gone out to, it would bring it to $4.5 billion. The Winter we need to get down to $2.5 billion.”

    Tokyo so far has raised $2.8 billion in national sponsorship revenue according to presentations from the IOC Session. The first three years of the Olympic project were dominated by rising costs for venue construction, prompting a review by Tokyo Metropolitan Governor Yuriko Koike.

    Koike worked with the IOC, Tokyo 2020, and different levels of government to establish a new matrix of responsibility cutting the overall budget to under $13 billion. The $5.5 billion Tokyo 2020 operating budget came from the new slimmed down budget.

    “I think [the lower operating costs] will make it more acceptable to the politicians and the public when they come to consider whether they are going to bid,” Coates said. “We need to be able to go to organizing committees and say ‘you don’t need to do this’ and reduce the cost.

    “Tokyo is very open to taking our advice on what is actually required in terms of scope.”

    Coates said that the IOC hopes to continue to learn from the Tokyo project to “give better direction and guidance” to future candidate and host cities to bring stability to the Games. He told ATR that the IOC made the right call with the dual award of Paris and Los Angeles for the next two Summer Games. Even with some organizational stability, the IOC is not done learning on how to improve operations.

    The IOC is working from results of a study conducted by the University of Washington at the Rio Olympics to determine how to properly scale Games facilities. The study showed that certain transport lines and facilities had been “overscoped,” leading to limited use and redundancy.

    “When you overscope it carries on to the number of volunteers, the number of officials, etc. as a result,” Coates said.

    “I’ve done this myself. When you don’t know what’s required and you go and tell the people at the rowing venue to be cautious and they overscope. What we still haven’t achieved in Tokyo is reducing this operational cost, and that’s why we’ve continued to say more work has to be done to reduce the budget.”

    Written by Aaron Bauer with additional reporting by Ed Hula in Lima

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