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Italian leaders say there’s ‘no money’ for 2026 Winter Games in Milan, Cortina

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Italian government officials are sounding the alarm about the finances of the 2026 Winter Games in Milan and Cortina, warning organizers are in the red after raising only around half of expected revenues from selling sponsorships.

“There is no money for the Cortina-Milan Olympics,” local and regional government officials wrote in a letter to Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, warning “there are four years left and we are worried,” according to a report by an Italian-language newspaper, il Fatto Quotidiano.

Despite promising to raise about $578 million from sponsors, Milan-Cortina organizers have announced negotiations for deals worth about $294 million without being able to produce “even the shadow of contracts,” the newspaper reported.

That’s on top of about $22 million in losses for the budget year ending in April, the newspaper said, adding that despite being in the red, organizers were “celebrated as a success for having ‘contained’ the losses, to be added to the tens of millions lost in 2020.”

The Sports Examiner, a California-based Olympic news source, reported Thursday that the management of the organizing committee for the 2026 Winter Games “is now a central focus,” even though rumors the committee’s leader would be fired in May turned out not to be true.

“But the regional governments which came together to win the Winter Games do not want to make a request for public funds for the 2026 effort, and certainly do not want to fund the Games themselves any further,” The Sports Examiner’s editor, Rich Perelman, wrote.

The concerns over Milan-Cortina’s $1.7 billion budget comes as organizers of the 2024 Summer Games in Paris say costs are skyrocketing due to supply chain issues related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as well as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, straining the nearly $4.3 billion budget.

Utah’s bid for the 2030 or 2034 Winter Games may be in a different situation, although concerns about the financial impact of Salt Lake City hosting 18 months after the 2028 Summer Games in Los Angeles is still the subject of behind-the-scenes talks led by the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee.

Unlike in other countries, local, state and federal governments are not expected to help pay for the direct costs of hosting an Olympics. The federal government, however, does take the lead on security for major national events such as a Summer or Winter Games.

Just as for the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City, Utah’s bid to bring another Olympics to the state does not call for any taxpayer funding, Fraser Bullock, president and CEO of the Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games, has said.

The $2.2 billion cost of hosting in 2030 would come largely from the sale of sponsorships, broadcast rights and tickets, with with a $200 million contingency fund and another $300 million set aside to be used after the Games for continuing to maintain venues and other legacy purposes,

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