Financial nightmare

R200m Ironman bill set to soar as metro to fund items, including:

  • International flights, hundreds of hotel rooms and a huge pasta party

  • A 3 000m2 village to accommodate vendor booths

  • A 4 000m2 supply depot to organise event supplies and trucks

  • A 500m2 area for VIP guests near the finish line

International flights, hundreds of hotel rooms and a massive pasta party – these are just some of the expenses for which Nelson Mandela Bay must foot the bill when it hosts the Ironman 70.3 World Championship next year.

And while the cost for a myriad requirements has been estimated at R8-million by organisers, there are fears it could increase sixfold.

The requirements are detailed in the host city agreement between Ironman and the metro, and range from flights to accommodation and a banquet marquee for nearly 5 000 guests.

This is over and above the R200-million the metro has yet to source to fund road upgrades along the planned route for the championship, set to be held in the Bay in September next year, MMC for budget and treasury Retief Odendaal confirmed.

A proposal to foot R13-million of this bill by borrowing funds set aside for road resurfacing in other wards has been discussed at length in council and the metro’s budget and treasury committee meetings, but no decision has been reached yet.

Meanwhile, mayor Athol Trollip was said to be hard at work to source the remaining R187-million from external sources.

However, the metro is expected to provide much more than just improved roads and municipal services, according to the lengthy agreement.

Other items the municipality is expected to pay for include:

  • A 3 000m² ironman village to accommodate vendor booths;
  • A 4 000m² supply depot to organise event supplies and trucks;
  • A 1 000m² athletes’ garden close to the finish line;
  • A centre to accommodate 100m² media houses;
  • A 500m² area for VIP guests near the finish line; and ý A 1 00m² race office for officials. The metro already paid a sponsorship fee of R7.8-million earlier this year, which included finance for an awards function and pasta party at a cost of R1.1-million.