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    2012 group predicts big profit from Olympics

    Florida 2012 says that if Tampa hosts the Olympics, the estimated revenue would exceed estimated expenses by $670-million.

    By CHRISTOPHER GOFFARD

    © St. Petersburg Times, published March 14, 2001


    TAMPA -- The group pushing to bring the Olympics to Tampa in 2012 predicts that the Games would turn a huge profit, far surpassing the money made last year in Sydney.

    With $3.16-billion in projected revenue and $2.49-billion in projected expenses, Florida 2012 estimated Tuesday that the Games would produce $670-million in profits.

    "We are fairly conservative in our revenue assumptions," said Terri Parnell, a spokesperson for Florida 2012. Although 11-million tickets are expected to be available for the Games, she said, the projections assume that only 80 percent of them will be sold, generating $907-million.

    "Obviously, we feel we're going to be at 95 to 100 percent," Parnell said.

    The group expects broadcasting rights, both domestic and international, will bring in $1.05-billion; sponsorships, $650-million; licensing fees, $94-million; and another $459-million from official suppliers, coin programs, users fees and various other sources.

    Florida 2012 said it would cost $426-million to build and run sports stadiums and facilities, including $270-million for an Olympic Stadium near downtown Tampa. Its revenue would come from broadcasting rights, ticket sales, sponsorships, licensing fees and other sources.

    The group announced the projected budget figures at Sports in Florida Day in Tallahassee, which featured a pep rally atmosphere and a playing of Tina Turner's Simply the Best.

    Ed Turanchik, president and CEO of Florida 2012, said the Tampa Games would far surpass the $7-million profit made by the 1996 Games in Atlanta. "We have to build fewer things," he said. "We have bigger venues." The television rights would be worth more, too, he added.

    The U.S. Olympic Committee will decide next year whether Tampa will be the U.S. choice to compete for the Games. The International Olympic Committee will make the final choice three years later. Seven other American cities and regions are vying to be the U.S. choice -- Baltimore-Washington, D.C., Cincinnati, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, New York City and San Francisco.

    Paris; Istanbul, Turkey; Johannesburg, South Africa; London; and Tel Aviv, Israel, have all been mentioned as likely candidates to host the 2012 Games.

    The Sydney Morning Herald in Australia reported last year that Sydney's Olympic committee had an operating profit of about $193-million from the 2000 Games.

    Where will the profits from the Tampa Games go?

    Turanchik said that wasn't clear yet, and that both the International Olympic Committee and the U.S. Olympic Committee had a significant say in the distribution of funds. He said he hoped a significant amount of the money would go into a not-for-profit trust fund to benefit youth sports programs in Florida.

    - Times staff writer Shelby Oppel contributed to this report.

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