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Faced With Dropping Revenue, 1984 World’s Fair Spent More, Report Says

October 7, 1985

NEW ORLEANS (AP) _ Officials who planned the 1984 World’s Fair responded to dropping revenue projections by spending more money to try to attract more visitors, according to a bankruptcy court examiner.

Wayne Bienvenu, the examiner appointed by the court to study the fair after it filed for reorganization of its debts in November, said the event’s planners discovered in December 1983 that revenue from exhibit rentals would be less than $10 million, compared to the $19.2 million originally projected. In the end, rentals totaled only $7.4 million.

In addition, advance ticket sales at that time had brought in $7.3 million, just over half the $13.6 million expected, the report said.

The fair still has $99 million in debts.

Fair officials believed they had only a cash flow problem, and did not see a warning sign that people would not come in sufficient numbers, according to the report.

To combat the falling revenue projections, the report said, fair officials improved the show, adding, among other things, an ampitheater and the Aquacade for synchronized swimming exhibits. According to the report, construction costs ballooned from $63 million in December 1983 to $91 million by the end of the fair.

The high-spending strategy also increased site operating costs from $7.9 million to $11.9 million.

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