Yesterday, I was pondering who would be England captain, alongside a lot of you, whilst wondering where the hell Jose would rock up to next. Then there was a bit of breaking news about Derek Chisora's ban, whilst a set of giant Olympic rings were floating down the Thames. A normal day of sporting news.
However, with that latter piece of news becoming the main headline to come out yesterday from the London 2012 team, another one was swept under the carpet, was announced to the press, and not a lot was made about it. Despite it being one of the biggest pieces of news in relation to the Olympics. It read as this:
"London 2012: Olympics 'likely to be under budget'
Simple, to the point, and something I'm sure many of you glossed over. But this is massive news.
I'll sum it up for you. Olympics Minister Hugh Robertson says he is 'increasingly confident' that the Olympic Games are to cost less than initially expected. This is due to the £527m contingency budget remaining in one piece, and staying untouched. It is a £1m decrease to the figure that was released in September 2011, but this is due to a small rise in the costing of assessed risk.
Now this may mean absolutely nothing to you, but stick with me. The Public Sector Funding Package, or PSFP for short, remains at £9.298bn - the figure it was decreased to upon the Coalition Government arriving in May 2010. This means that despite the budget nearly quadrupling from the initial £2.4bn quoted during the bidding process for the Games in 2005, there has been no further rise. Which, in two words, is good.
These details were all released in the February edition of the 2012 Olympics Quarterly Economic Report. But further reading into the report makes the state of the Games look even better. £544m has been saved by the Olympic Deliverance Authority, and this money has been pumped elsewhere, including park and venue security, the transformation of the Stratford area, and some money has been used for tourism information. The most important bit of this is the fact that despite the money being used elsewhere, and costs reportedly escalating (the National Audit Office said last December that the Games would be massively over-budget, thanks to the doubling of the budget for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, and increased security costs), the Games are still on budget. Bang on. Not a penny over. Not a penny under.
Again, stick with me, cause this is important to the country. 96% of the Olympic Park is now complete, and LOCOG have now taken ownership of the Park itself. Money has been put aside for the transformation of venues between the Olympic and Paralympic Games, and £333m is now sitting in a pot awaiting the end of the Games, when the 'Park Transformation' comes into play. This include the £75m it will take to redevelop the Olympic Stadium into a Premier League-standard venue; a cost that would have been met by favoured tenants West Ham and Newham Council, had Tottenham and Leyton Orient not pushed for legal action. However, of that £75m, £40m will come from Newham Council, but this has been incorporated into the figures.
The amount saved on the 2012 Olympics, when you add in the most recent numbers, is very close to £1bn. That's a phenomenal effort from everyone involved, bearing in mind we're riding the worst recession this country has seen. Admittedly, with the money we're spending on these Games, there could have been a lot more investment in other vital things to keep our nation running - healthcare, defence, transport etc etc etc - the list goes on. But nobody could have predicted the extent of this downturn back in 2005, so we were lumbered with a very expensive event when money is scarce. But Britain has done what Britain does best - pulled it off.
My final point is where the budget is coming from. This £9.298bn hasn't been grown on trees - £6.248bn of the cash has come from the Government, with a lot of further investment in providing facilities up and down the country to encourage sport at all ages. The Greater London Authority, and the London Development Agency have ploughed in a further £875m, whilst the National Lottery have raised £2.175bn to host the Games. So in a roundabout way, a quarter has been funded out of the goodwill of British people, in the form of a lottery ticket.
I'll be posted aplenty over the coming weeks and months about the Olympics - it's something I'm personally very passionate about and have been looking forward to since I was 12. Seven years on, and that passion has grown at the same speed as the budget itself. Keep your eyes peeled for more.
You can come and say hello on Twitter - I'm @Adam9309. You can also let me know your thoughts via the comments box below!
I have to say I have been expecting the my excitement to grow as we got closer and closer... but it seems my apathy toward it is growing... so much coverage, everywhere i look it bang in your face... it's like christmas but x10 times worse.... Christmas to me a a 3months build up to opening up some new underwear and cheap deodrant you end up giving away to nephews. It's not about what is should be anymore... and i kind of feel the Olympic has become the same, it's not pure anymore, cheats are left right and centre, it's hugely over priced and subscribed and lets be completely honest how many events are we actually interested in? I mean proper interested in... not just watch because we can win a medal like the sailing or riding round in circles?
The Para Olympic is what i am looking forward to... i alway remember being taken to a game of Wheel chair rugby... i was expecting a tame game with an over protective ref... OMG. Look it up man.... Seriously.... CRUNCH BANG BANG... yet they are perfect gents toward each other.
Through my mum and a few other things that have happened Ihave had the good forture to meet many people with disabilities be them mental or physical and I have to say the effort and determination for no reward other then respect for them selves brings a tear to my eye, some of the things i've seen people do and how they look when they realise their targets brings tears to my eyes now just thinking about it... but these over commercialised Olympics... nah I can't get excited about it
Watch the Para's, listen to the stories involved of the competitors, not only will is give you huge enjoyment, but it'll also teach people a lot of humility, I used to hate going to these event as a kid, but now i realise that where good for my development as an adult... hence the reason I think kids should be forced to do things that they might not want too... Human right my arse, some times you learn the best things from the places you least expect.... and as a youngster you don't see or understand that... anyway off subject, and i'm not getting at you with that point.
So I doubt i'll be watching the Olympics, maybe a bit of the football... but the Euro and the Para Olympics will more than dominate the TV and annoy the wife... but my kid will be given the same chance to see these amzing people perform whether she want to or not, just like i was...
Ironic that I'm in the country of the previous Olympics whilst the next one to be held is in my native one, in some ways. Thankfully I'll miss the whole she-bang. Is the marketing dream (i.e TV, newspaper and radio hype designed for your money) that bad already? I have made a good choice being away from that dull crap this year!
Whilst it would be good for this event to inject some cash back into the UK economy through scandalous pricing, I can't help my imagination. You know the movie Spiderman, right? All I can picture is W*anker Cameron, in spandex, having a glorious few second pose in front of a waving Union flag, as the hero tune goes up. If we have another 4 years of that Alan B*stard due to this Olympic games, I will file the emigration papers.
P.s The Olympics seems a long winded affair for the only thing worth watching - and that last generally under 10 seconds!
Do I like the Olympics? Yeah, it is better than watching Coronation Street.
Do I think it is worth £1b of public money? This site wouldn't allow me the print the words!
The Olympics has not only made my job come under scrutiny, but also the small local charity for which I work for, many others (organisations and jobs) too! You say money has come from the Government, fair enough but this is not a pot they just had floating about. It as been taken from financial streams that other services have benefited from in the past, cuts to other budgets if you like. The only effect the recessions had is the guarantee that none of the ticket sale profits get pumped back into the system meaning the organisations that have limped by for the last couple of years won't now see the benefit of this enormousness event being on our shores! not that we had massive expectations to see much of that money come back our way anyway. However, Joe Bloggs off the street won't see this side of things, they will just see that certain services are no longer available and think 'why they got rid of that'. Not a thought as to how they were funded in the first place.
In short, I like the Olympics but the way the financial side has been dealt with as been selfish due to the so-called 'bigger picture'.
Nice article Adam, nice to see something positive for a change, however, It appears that *all* of the budget for the olympics has come from 'goodwill' as you call it, if the government stumped up 6.2billion, national lottery 2.whatever billion and GLA, that money has all come out of our pockets, ok with the national lottery it has been through people generously? buying tickets to win a large amount of money, but the rest of it will be via general taxation of one kind or another. Oh and of course there will be sponsorship deals as well, which, again, we will pay for indirectly through our purchases.
Either way though, the savings made is a positive move considering the current mood, it's a pity the main focus of peoples attention had been on the extra money for the opening/closing ceremonies.
No point anyone blaming cameron for this, he didn't sign off on the budget quadrupling and quite frankly they're doing an OK job considering the mess they were left with. I am incredibly surprised that a random £3bn of hidden costs haven't been found given the last governments capacity to waste money on junk.