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Olympic bid financed by province and big corporations

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The Province of B.C. and Telus Corp. are the sugar daddies of the Vancouver-Whistler 2010 Olympic Bid Corporation.

According to figures obtained from the Bid Corp., both the provincial government and Telus have each contributed $3 million towards funding the bid.

The province, one of the bid’s "member partners," has marked the majority of its money for the bid’s LegaciesNow program, which was created to provide promising young B.C. athletes with world-class programs and services.

The Bid Corp. would not reveal how much money two of its other member partners – the City of Vancouver and the Resort Municipality of Whistler – have invested in the bid.

Despite its involvement, the RMOW has yet to declare its official support for the bid.

Telus is the bid’s premier sponsor and, according to BC Business magazine, was the province’s most profitable company in 2000, based on its net income of $461 million. The company’s revenues for that year were $6.4 billion.

The Canadian Tourism Commission has given $2.5 million to the bid.

Two Crown corporations are also involved in financing the bid, as what the Bid Corp. calls "founding supporters." To be a founding supporter, companies must donate between $1.5 million and $3 million.

B.C. Lottery Corp. has publicly announced it has given the bid $1.5 million, while the Insurance Corp of B.C. has not released its figures.

BCLC profited $532 million in 2000 and generated revenues of $1.4 billion, while ICBC banked $132-million on revenues of $2.8-billion.

None of the 12 organizations in the Bid Corp.’s "community contributors" – including B.C. Hydro, B.C. Pavilion Corp., BC Gas, Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, Tourism B.C., Tourism Vancouver, Vancouver International Airport and Orca Bay Sports and Entertainment – have publicly revealed their financial contributions. All companies in this category must donate between $150,000 and $1.5 million.

Sixteen companies are in the "friends" category, which involves donations of less than $150,000. These figures have not been released either.

The Bid Corp. has reached 70 per cent – somewhere between $16-million and $17-million – of its $23-million fund-raising goal.

About two-thirds of funding for the bid comes from the corporate sector with the remainder from government.

A Bid Corp. study estimated that a Vancouver-Whistler Olympics could generate between $1.2-billion to $1.5-billion in revenues from sponsorships, TV revenues, merchandise and ticket sales, which would cover the Games’ operating costs.

Absent from the list of financial supporters is Whistler-Blackcomb owner Intrawest Corp.

Company spokesperson Stephen Forgacs said Intrawest is, however, "working to support" the 2010 bid.

"We stand fully behind the bid committee," he said.

Intrawest is B.C.’s top real estate company, according to BC Business magazine, based on its revenues of $1.22 billion.

In other Olympic bid news, the B.C. government this week announced $5 million towards a fund that will support artistic and cultural activities promoting the Olympics. The fund will increase to $20 million over four years.

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