Olympics: Tokyo 2020 Games budget to benefit from fresh reforms

FILE PHOTO - Images, using projection-mapping technology, are beamed on a building of Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office during a countdown event to mark three years until the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan July 24, 2017. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

By Karolos Grohmann

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (Reuters) - The Tokyo 2020 Olympics will benefit from a fresh batch of International Olympic Committee (IOC) reforms, despite having already slashed their initial budget by roughly $2.5 billion, the IOC said on Tuesday.

The Games budget spiraled dangerously out of control a few years after Japan were awarded the event in 2013, forcing major revisions as potential future hosts, already concerned about the massive costs involved, were discouraged.

A set of 118 reforms, named 'the New Norm' and approved by the IOC session in Pyeongchang last week, are designed to drive down costs for future Summer Games hosts by around $1 billion.

They would also provide some savings for Tokyo, the IOC's Coordination Commission for Tokyo head John Coates said, even though all the reforms would only be in place at the 2024 Paris Games awarded to the French capital last September.

"We have got some ideas (on the size of the savings) for Tokyo but we will continue to push," Coates told reporters when asked how much money Tokyo was set to save from the partial implementation of the reforms.

He did not name a figure or percentage for this amount.

"I think the Tokyo revenues are secure but we want to make sure they (Games organisers) do not regard that as a comfort zone. We want to continue to drive and make savings," he added.

Tokyo's overall budget, after several revisions, now stands at $12.6 billion, of which $5.6 billion are the organizing committee's budget for staging the Games.

The IOC contributes some $1.7 billion in cash and services to the organizing committee.

The Japanese capital has already eclipsed all of its Olympic predecessors in terms of domestic sponsorship proceeds, raking in close to $3 billion, almost three times more than any previous host city.

"(Savings) are at $2.5 billion already," Coates said. "I think there is a hesitancy (from Tokyo) particularly given the extraordinary revenues that are coming in from national sponsors... because they do not want to take any chances.

"Money for the organising committee is not an issue. But we will keep pushing."

The reforms cover reduced costs for bidding for the Olympics as well as organizing the Games. Bidders must also present specific legacy plans before they are awarded the event to avoid littering cities with white elephants, as is often the case.

The IOC was alarmed by the withdrawal of four cities campaigning for the 2022 Winter Olympics over size and cost concerns, prompting a "complete rethink", Coates said.

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by John O'Brien)

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