The Treasurer of the Unlympics Organizing Committee—prior to his retirement, pictured above—asked me to type up a few final words on his behalf. As you may recall, we here at the Unlympics have invented a little something you might be interested in called financial transparency in the hopes of creating a new model for sporty mega-events.
The notion seems to confuse a lot of people, especially other sports festival managers, so how it works is: we tell you, honestly, how much money the Unlympics costs, and how much money the Unlympics has raised. Then, if you are filled with the Unlympic Spirit, you give us some money, and we tell people about it.
The cost of hosting the Unlympics’ Winter 2009 mostly free programming has included:
$175 in rent
$100 in disco balls, sparklers, medals and trophies
$50 in promotional and office supplies
$50 in beer and, of course, Gatorade
This comes to a total of $375.
By the closing date of the Winter 2009 Games, the UOC had raised, mostly from the $5 competitor’s fee to join the Spelling Bee, exactly $244—a full $131 short of our goal.
Now, we realize that a $131 budget deficit represents a significantly lower-than-average cost overrun ratio for a giant sporty mega-event—in fact, the London 2012 Games are currently estimated to cost more than four times their original budget of 2.37bn pounds, and are now running upwards of 9bn pounds. And those games are still three years off. Strangely, 2.37 bn pounds is the equivalent of about 3.3bn dollars—exactly the amount the Chicago Games are predicted to cost in Chicago 2016’s bid book, released yesterday. The bid book also predicts that no improvements whatsoever will be needed to our public transportation system, claims that only one hotel will be built in the downtown area, and lays out plans for drastic, permanent changes to Washington Park, where we played Class-Conscious Kickball just two weeks ago. The bid book does not describe the new TIF district in Bronzeville, allowing for taxpayer money to go toward the $3.3bn; nor does it acknowledge that a vast majority of Chicagoans do not want their tax money going toward the sporty mega-event.
But what is clear in all this is that tax money does not fund the Unlympic Games.
And following our Closing Ceremonies on February 14, 2009 at No Coast in Pilsen, we succeeded in eliminating our debt with the support of sports enthusiasts the city over, just like you.
Your contributions to this project have been enormous, and we wish to take this opportunity to thank you for making the 2009 Winter Unlympic Games the most amazing Unlympics ever.
As you are probably aware, all of our time and most of our equipment has been donated. If we were to tally the in-kind contributions of our leetle sports festival, and we had to pay that back, we’d have to charge you the same amount the Chicago 2016 committee has suggested to charge for their closing ceremonies: $1400. (Still a bargain compared to the $1700 ticket price for the Opening Day Ceremonies! P.S. the Unlympics’ were free.)
Sincere appreciation for making this an engaging and rewarding—and incredibly successful—game-changing event. Thank you.
Finally, if you run a sports mega-event and wish to seek further information about financial transparency, please first Google the term, and then contact our offices.