Hungary splurges on Budapest bid to host 2024 Olympics as Rome bows out

September 22, 2016

Olympics

The government has authorized Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to sign a letter of guarantee which is to accompany the second installment of Hungary’s application to host the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games, reports index.hu.

The letter confirms the government’s willingness to finance all the improvements necessary to host the games, including the construction of the Olympic village and the International Broadcast and Media Center, and the realization of various public transportation projects.

The government decision instructs the responsible government commissioner to submit the signed letter of guarantee to the National Olympic Committee, and ministers to examine the conditions for realizing the obligations undertaken if Budapest wins its bid.

Another USD 9.3 million for “social dialogue”?

The fact that the exact location of the 2024 games won’t be determined for another year has not discouraged the government from spending additional public funds on “social dialogue relating to the Olympics” on top of the HUF 7 billion (USD 26 million) spent to date, reports mno.hu.

The Budapest 2024 Nonprofit Zrt. announced on Tuesday that it is accepting proposals to “formulate strategy, hold events, plan and execute a communications campaign in 2017 for social dialogue on the Olympics.”

The online daily notes that an identically worded tender last year resulted in a HUF 900 million contract for four and a half months in 2016 being awarded to two companies: Media Insight Media Agency Kft. and Humán Telek Advertising Consultancy and Service Kft., a company belonging to the CEO of the Ferencváros “Fradi” soccer team, Pál Orosz.

“The same tender over a period of twelve months could amount to as much as HUF 2.5 billion (USD 9.3 million),” writes mno.hu, noting that

“The largest component of money spent to date has been on expert advice, for which they allocated HUF 5.1 billion (USD 18.9 million).  In addition, Siegler Law Offices were contracted for HUF 100 million (USD 330,000) to provide advice on company law.  A company owned by Árpád Habony’s business partner, Médianéző Kft., also received HUF 7.6 million (USD 28,000) to monitor the press.  Furthemore, the company belonging to Antal Rogán’s neighbor, Csaba Csetényi, was also awarded a HUF 360 million (USD 1.3 million) contract to plan the Olympic media campaign, organize and execute it, as well as to organize and conduct events and media campaigns connected and related to it thematically.”

Rome is set to drop its bid for the 2024 Olympics, after its anti-establishment mayor said it would be financially “irresponsible” to be a candidate. Rome last hosted the Games in 1960 and pulled out of the bidding for the 2020 Olympics for financial reasons.

Boston and Hamburg have already dropped out of the running for the 2024 Games. The candidates now, minus Rome, are Los Angeles, Paris and Budapest.