Friday, August 21, 2009

Commonwealth Games 2010 to be revenue-neutral

S Kalyana Ramanathan / London August 21, 2009

Despite setting an ambitious target of generating revenues in excess of Rs 900 crore, the organisers of the ‘Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi’ expect the event to be “revenue neutral”, meaning all that is earned through TV rights and other commercial deals will be spent on the game.

Addressing the media in London, members of the organising committee of the 2010 Games said the total revenues expected from this game would be twice as much as what was generated by the Melbourne Commonwealth Games in 2006.

T S Darbari, joint director general of the organising committee said that the total cost of the games would, however, be known only when all associated projects including road and rail infrastructure were completed before the game, to be held between October 3 and October 14, 2010.

“The build-up to the Games are handled by several agencies, both at the Centre and Delhi, including the Metro rail. It would take time to collate all costs and can be done only when they are all completed,” Darbari said on the sidelines of the press conference. TV rights worth Rs 240 crore has already been sold more than a year ahead of the event, he said.

Despite doubts raised in the media, the organisers said they were confident of completing most construction work by December 2009 and reach full preparedness in terms of venues by March 2010, at least seven months ahead of the event.

While half the venues are new, the remaining half will be refurbishments of what was already built in the past, including those before the 1982 Asian Games.

The 2010 Commonwealth Games is expected to be the biggest international sporting event to be hosted by India since the 1982 Delhi Asian Games. The success of the Commonwealth Games would be the first step towards India’s bid for hosting the 2020 Olympics.

Suresh Kalmadi, Member of Parliament and chairman of the organising committee, said that in the wake of Mumbai terror attacks in November 2008 and later in Kabul in February this year, extra precautions have been taken to ensure that the Delhi Games were not marred by any security threats.

“Security guards have been posted at the event venues right from the construction stage. The Commonwealth Games Federation has also employed a security consulting firm to monitor the development on a regular basis,” Kalmadi said.

A month ahead of Games, security agencies from all 71 participating countries will be taken on a tour of the venues and briefed on the arrangements.

Earlier this month, the English badminton team cited specific terror threats before withdrawing its participation from the World Badminton Championships, held in Hyderabad.

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