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2ND LEAD Hamburg 2024 Olympics cheaper than London - at 11.2 billion euros By Almut Kipp, dpa

Germany
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Hamburg (dpa) - Olympic Games in Hamburg would cost 11.2 billion euros (12.6 billion dollars) if the northern German port city is elected 2024 host, mayor Olaf Scholz said on Thursday.

The governing senate presented its estimate at a news conference ahead of a referendum on the bid scheduled for November 29.

The figures cover infrastructure as well as the actual Games budget, and Scholz said the highest figures had been used rather than a low estimate, taking inflation and general rising costs into account.

"These are the best calculated Olympic Games ever," Scholz said. "Olympic and Paralympic Games will cost less than the (2012) Olympic Games in London."

The London Games cost some 8.9 billion pounds (13.5 billion dollars) overall. The most expensive Olympics are the Sochi 2014 Winter Games which cost some 50 billion dollars overall.

Of the 11.2 billion euros, 7.4 billion would come from the tax payers while Hamburg expects to generate 3.8 billion euros from payments by the International Olympic Committee, sponsors, ticket sales and merchandising.

Scholz said Hamburg‘s aim was to stay below the estimate.

He said that Hamburg will need 6 billion euros from the federal government, with the issue to be finalised by February 2016 when the first bid files have to be sent to the IOC. Hamburg itself would provide 200 million euros per year.

"I would not submit a bid if it would be too much for the city‘s financial strength," the Social Democrat Scholz said.

The bid is backed by the nation‘s government and Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere told dpa this week that 2024 Olympics were more important for Germany than the European football championships the same year for which the country is also bidding.

Hamburg plans to develop a part of its harbour into an Olympic Park with key venues and the athletes‘ village. After the Games the area is to house 17,000 people and provide 7,000 jobs, with legacy plans for venues including turning the main indoor arena into a cruise ship terminal.

Pending the outcome of the referendum, Hamburg is competing against Los Angeles, Paris, Rome and Budapest to stage the 2024 Games. The IOC elects the host city at its 2017 session in Lima.

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