Olympic financial footing still secure despite Soviet-bloc pullout
Los Angeles — Although missing star performers from the Soviet Union, East Germany, Cuba, and some of their allies, the Olympic Games in Los Angeles don't appear to be sustaining serious damage from the Soviet-bloc back-out.
In fact, the summer games are still likely to be the biggest Olympics in history, with the most countries represented and the most athletes competing.
At the same time, the absence of the Soviet bloc will not make much financial impact either on the games themselves - the first to be organized privately - or on the southern California economy.
This is the view of several analysts who have independently surveyed the impact of the Los Angeles games on the local economy.
Peter V. Ueberroth, president of the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee , still expresses confidence that these private Olympics will be staged without a financial deficit. Whatever happens with the national teams still undecided about following the Soviet lead, he says, ''the games will have a tiny surplus that will go to youth and sports.''
David A. Wilcox of Economic Research Associates has analyzed, for the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee (LAOOC), the economic effects of the Soviet-bloc pullout on businesses benefiting from the games. Although the committee has not released the study, Mr. Wilcox says the missing nations will have an ''extremely modest impact.''
Further, he adds, ''the LAOOC is not financially impaired in the slightest.''
Analyst Harrison Price, who has also forecast the financial impact of the games, agrees. ''It won't be as good a show without the Soviet-bloc countries, but it's not an economic problem.''
Of the LAOOC's own finances for putting on the games, Mr. Price says, ''I don't see it as a problem. Their revenue sources are in place.''
Tammy Lazer, Olympic coordination manager for the Greater Los Angeles Visitor and Convention Bureau, foresees ''no effect at all'' on Olympic tourism. ''We never expected any great number of tourists from the Soviet Union,'' she says.
The LAOOC does stand to lose some money because of the Soviet pullout. The ABC television network is supporting almost half the Olympic budget with its $ 225 million fee for broadcast rights. And the ABC contract allows for a lower fee in the event that some national teams pulled out, as they have. But how much lower is apparently open to negotiation, and Mr. Ueberroth, speaking for the LAOOC side of the table, says, ''I think we'll do very well.''
ABC, for its part, has an insurance policy that protects the network from actually losing money on the Los Angeles games, so its position is certainly not desperate.
Eleven countries so far have joined the Soviets in abstaining from the Olympics. The Soviet news agency Tass announced Saturday that South Yemen had become the latest to withdraw from the games.
Czechoslovakia said last week after a meeting with leaders of Olympic committees from communist nations that among those boycotting was North Korea, although Pyongyang has made no official announcement.
One-hundred and twenty-eight nations have given early confirmation that they intend to enter teams. Ueberroth says the confirmations, which came the middle of last week, arrived earlier than the June 2 deadline partly in an effort by countries to counter behind-the-scenes Soviet pressure to keep them out. An early public confirmation, he explains, would make the Soviet hand in a pullout more obvious.
The Romanian team has given unofficial word that they want to compete, but the official decision has not been made. The Soviet pressure on these countries to decline their Olympic invitations, Ueberroth says, ''is a very sad thing.'' The Soviets deny they are pressuring anyone else to follow their lead.
Between 1,500 and 2,000 athletes are on teams that will not compete. The LAOOC still expects about 7,500 athletes at the games. Many teams, such as India , United Kingdom, and China, want to send more athletes now that the ranks have thinned from Eastern Europe.
The Olympic villages at the University of Southern California and the University of California, Los Angeles, will still be near capacity. The Soviet team was going to stay aboard a ship to be anchored in Long Beach Harbor. Even so, Olympic officials now admit that, with East-bloc athletes, the villages would have been overcrowded.