There is more trouble for the beleaguered Commonwealth Games Organising Committee (OC) — its reputation already marred by corruption charges, financial irregularities and delays in completing various Games projects.
With a little over two weeks remaining for the Games to start and hardly any new sponsors/sources of revenue in sight, the OC's claim of making the Games revenue-neutral seems to be falling flat.
Unlike other Games stakeholders, like the Delhi government, the Sports Authority of India (SAI), Delhi Development Authority (DDA), the OC had taken a total of Rs 1700 crore from the government as 'loan' for organising the games.
It had said that once the Games were over, it would return the entire amount from revenue generated through advertisements, national and international broadcasting rights, sponsorship, merchandising and ticketing.
The OC had expected to earn revenue to the tune of approximately Rs 1,708 crore from the Games as against its expenditure of Rs 1,700 crore. But OC officials are now looking at a budget deficit.
"At present, we have managed to generate revenue only to the tune of Rs 650 crore from broadcasting rights, sponsorships, sale of ticket, etc. Unless we do not get some big sponsors, there is no way we can return the loan amount. The deficit, in that case, will have to be borne by the government," said a senior OC official.
The OC has not written to the Centre on the issue
as yet. "We will write to them after the Games are over. Right now, our only priority is the smooth conduct of the Games," said an official.
OC officials say the negative publicity surrounding the Games has resulted in poor revenue generation. "Many big private sponsors have stayed away from the event," said the official.
Earlier, the OC had terminated the contract of Singapore-based Sports Marketing and Management (SMAM), the firm responsible for negotiating and procuring sponsorship contract for the event, for non-performance. Soon after, the OC faced allegations of corruption and financial irregularities in various deals that it signed.
As a result, two Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) - National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) and PowerGrid, decided to hold back their Rs 40 crore sponsorship money, out of a combined committed sum of Rs 60 crore for the event.