The 2014 Commonwealth Games came in £25 million under budget, Alex Salmond has revealed.
The two-week event staged in Glasgow this summer was expected to cost about £472m. The First Minister announced the saving at Holyrood yesterday, before visiting the Institute of Sport at Heriot-Watt University to meet athletes and coaches who played a “vital role” in the Games.
He told MSPs: “The Games in Glasgow was an outstanding success both in terms of its organisation and the way in which it engaged hundred of thousands of people in enjoying the biggest event that Scotland has ever hosted.
“I’m delighted to announce that in addition to being the greatest Commonwealth Games in history, it has come in almost £25m under budget.
“It makes it one of the few sporting events in history to achieve that accolade and certainly the only one which has been both the greatest Games and come in under budget.”
The total budget was £472.3m, with an extra £90m for security. That was made up of £372m of public money with the remainder coming from commercial income generated through sponsorship, ticket sales, broadcasting rights and merchandising. The budget included a contingency of £66.1m, involving a £42.3m general contingency and £23.8m special reserve. It emerged most of the contingency fund had been used up, but the special reserve had not been required.
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Mr Salmond said the event would also be a catalyst for “physical, economic and social regeneration”.
He said: “We have already announced £6m will go into Scotland’s first ever para-sports centre and £2m will support our successful Legacy programme.”
The remaining funds will be re-invested in Scotland’s health service. Glasgow 2014 chairman Lord Smith said a final budget position will not be confirmed formally until the Organising Committee’s closing accounts are completed early next year.
But he said current indications were that Glasgow 2014 would conclude its operations significantly within budget.
“From the outset, the focus of the Glasgow 2014 Organising Committee and our Games partners has been delivering a world-class Games for the Commonwealth which would make the people of Glasgow and Scotland feel proud,” he said.
“Throughout the journey – and working closely with our Games partners – the team at Glasgow 2014 has focused on achieving excellence and also value in everything we’ve done.
“It has also been very important to us that we have gone about our work in a responsible and sustainable way – ensuring that the Commonwealth Games experience has been accessible to as many people as possible, with the benefits of the Games felt widely.”
The Games were a huge hit with sports fans. Most events sold out and 1.3 million tickets were snapped up. The Games also recorded a new world-record attendance of 171,000 for Rugby Sevens.
Glasgow city council leader Gordon Matheson said the Games “raised the bar” in its preparation of venues and cultural programmes.
“It’s no surprise to find that all the previously committed public funds were not required. Once again we have been shown to be a world-class city capable of organising events in the best possible fashion,” he said.
“The Games were undoubtedly one of Glasgow’s greatest successes, and were an achievement we should all take great pride in.”
Around £400m of Games contracts were awarded – more than two-thirds to Scottish companies – during the event. More than £1m of contracts were awarded to social businesses.
Commonwealth Games president Prince Tunku Imran of Malaysia praised the “prudent and responsible” approach adopted by the Glasgow organisers.
“Glasgow and Scotland’s Games has set bold new benchmarks, energised and inspired the Commonwealth sports movement and invested in developing a long-term legacy which will benefit a wide range of people and communities for many years to come,” he said.
The 2018 Games will be held in Gold Coast, Australia, after the city beat a challenge by Sri Lanka’s Hambantota three years ago.
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