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2010 sponsors will deliver despite economic crisis: VANOC

The organizing committee for the 2010 Vancouver games has full confidence in its domestic sponsors despite concerns caused by the economic downturn, a top executive with the body said today.

“Every sponsor is on schedule with its payments,” executive vice-president Dave Cobb told reporters after a board of directors meeting focussed on spending and revenue. “Everything that was due to be received has been received.”

Over the last few months, several major domestic sponsors have been hard hit by the economic crisis. General Motors Canada in particular is begging the federal government for billions of dollars in aid money.

According to recent reports, the company has made a $70 million committment to VANOC that includes 4,500 vehicles.

Though General Motors has provided over half of its agreed contribution to date, a pull-out could create a nearly $30 million shortfall for the organizing committee.

Cobb said $745 million out of a domestic sponsorship budget of $760 million has been committed so far. He also confirmed that a new sponsor has just joined VANOC and will be announced next year.

The organizing committee noted in an e-mail that of the $745 million, only 31 per cent has been received as revenue, according to the last annual report.

Cobb said there was “absolutely no indication” that any of VANOC’s domestic sponsors will back off from their commitment to the Winter Games.

“We’re in close contact with our sponsors every day,” Cobb said. “They’ve committed their full intention that they will meet all their obligations.”

Cobb also addressed concerns that the IOC has pledged to fill 11 corporate sponsorship slots but is still short by two.

“They’re going through the same uncertainty we are in bringing on new sponsors,” he said, adding the shortfall for VANOC could be $26 million. “They know our budget – we’re confident they’ll meet the funding levels.”

The executive vice-president said no shortfall would fall on the heads of taxpayers because VANOC won’t spend money it doesn’t have.

Cobb’s statements were made during an announcement that VANOC’s board of directors approved a revised budget in principle that includes plans to reduce future workforce numbers to increase contingency revenue.

The public will have to wait until after the board of directors approves the budget at a Jan. 21 meeting to learn the specifics.

Geoff Dembicki is a staff reporter for the Hook.

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