Organisers of the PyeongChang 2018 winter Olympic Games have moved to allay fears over revenue shortfalls and increased borrowing by announcing they expect to confirm a host of new sponsorship deals in the “near future”.
Last month, the Korean government’s Board of Audit and Inspection released a report stating that PyeongChang generated W3.5bn (€2.6m/$3.2m) across 2013 and 2014, with no income for the former year.
This fell considerably short of the expected figure of W85bn, while the Games has been heavily dependent on W21.5bn of borrowing – largely from the government – to keep preparations moving forward. Venue construction in the alpine town has been delayed due to a lack of funding.
However, PyeongChang 2018 spokeswoman Lee Ji-hye told the AFP news agency: "Talks are under way with various potential sponsors, and we hope good results will come in the near future." Lee did not disclose an estimate for 2015’s income but added: "Everything will be on track this year.”
Korean-based businesses Pagoda Education Group, Samil Pricewaterhouse Coopers, Youngone Outdoor and KT have so far signed up as PyeongChang 2018 sponsors.
Moving some events to Japan and staging the opening ceremony away from PyeongChang were mooted among potential cost-cutting measures but were met with a strong negative reaction from local residents.
South Korean President Park Geun-hye ruled out the prospect of venue changes amid promises of further government support but on Monday, Gangwon province Governor Choi Moon-soon suggested snowboarding events could be shared with neighbouring North Korea. He told the Yonhap news agency: “We can consider symbolically sharing freestyle snowboarding, which does not take much money to build.”