LETTERS: Commonwealth Games largely taxpayer sponsored

Re: Commonwealth Games committee named, News, July 12

Grab a coffee, here’s some mega-sports event numbers for you.

The 2010 Vancouver Olympics operational costs were $1.84-billion, 31 per cent of that was paid for by taxpayers to build and upgrade venues. About $900-million extra was also spent on security (originally budgeted at $200-million) and administered separately.

It’s reported operational costs for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games were $908-million including about $140-million for security. In the end, 65 per cent of the costs were picked up by the taxpayer.

Clearly mega-sports events are largely taxpayer-sponsored, with far less revenue from sponsorship, ticket sales, broadcasting rights and merchandise sales than usually anticipated.

Taxpayers should also be aware that financial support will be substantial for any Victoria Commonwealth Games 2022. Bid committee chair David Black hopes municipal, provincial and federal taxpayers will pick up 75 per cent of the costs.

Security costs of a mega-sports event are extremely difficult to estimate in these troubling times, but painful enough financially to break the bank. If Victoria wins the bid, local police forces, the RCMP across the province, plus the Vancouver Police Department, Canada Border Services Agency, Canadian Forces, Canadian Security Intelligence Services, and police agencies across Canada will be involved.

On top of these operational costs are hundreds of millions or several billion dollars – numbers that are usually disputed by everyone – spent by governments on housing, roads, and other capital projects.

So ask yourself, after any Victoria 2022 Commonwealth Games will you feel like a very large pelican, no matter which way you look you will see a very large bill?

Stan Bartlett

Grumpy Taxpayers of Greater Victoria

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