Instead of selling 500 tickets to the Frank Sinatra concert and raising $25,000, supporters of Salt Lake City's bid for the 1998 Winter Games ended up selling just 90 tickets and raising $6,600.
The money doesn't go very far toward paying off a debt estimated at more than $500,000 last week. Officials of the Salt Lake City Bid Committee for the Olympic Winter Games said a new estimate would be ready Thursday.The concert was one of several events planned to raise the money needed to pay past-due bills and other expenses before the International Olympic Committee selects the site of the 1998 Winter Games on June 15.
"Maybe some events do better than others. But all in all, we feel very good," Craig Peterson, bid committee vice president, said. "I wouldn't characterize this as a problem for us."
Frank Sinatra's performance did not sell out. Salt Palace Marketing Director Eric Yaillen said about 9,000 of the 12,000 seats available were filled for the concert.
"I certainly was one of those who thought this would sell out," Yaillen said. "It's too bad more people didn't take advantage of the offer we had with the Olympics."
Each of the $150 tickets sold through the Salt Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau actually raised only $40 for the bid committee, according to Rick Davis, bureau president. Besides the $75 cost of the best seats at the concert, another $35 had to be subtracted to pay for food, drinks and entertainment at a reception held before the show at the Doubletree Hotel.
Although she doesn't have a vote, the wife of IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch does have influence. She and her sister were two of the 30 or so bid committee guests who did not pay for their tickets.
"I'm a great fan of Mr. Sinatra," Bibis Samaranch told reporters before a Wednesday morning visit with the governor. She said she was also touring some of the proposed venues for the Winter Games.
An auction of donated items, like season ski passes to Deer Valley and Snowbird, netted about $3,000 for the bid committee, Davis said. That's about $2,000 less than apparently anticipated.
Peterson said that the bid committee still hopes to be out of the red before June 15, although he and other Olympic supporters are now saying it could take longer.
"When we finish the campaign - and that doesn't necessarily mean June 15 - all of the debts will be satisfied," Tom Welch, bid committee chairman, said recently.
Gov. Norm Bangerter and other officials are concerned enough that the debt may not get paid that they have joined in the fund-raising effort and are meeting regularly with the bid committee to monitor their progress.
Much of the money being raised by the bid committee is being spent to bring IOC members to Salt Lake City to help convince them the Winter Games should be held here.