Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Questioning the Wisdom of Hosting International Sporting Events

This article from the International Monetary Fund looks at the investments required to host big international sporting events like the Olympics and the World Cup and challenges the wisdom of making those investments.

Though the article explores some of the benefits Olympics can create for cities, it also warns that the costs of hosting these events are increasingly large.

Unfortunately, the Los Angeles experience was exceptional. Subsequent host cities found it impossible to procure the same proportion of private support. Several billion dollars in public monies was committed in Seoul (1988), Barcelona (1992), Nagano (1998), Sydney (2000), Athens (2004), and Beijing (2008).

The Barcelona Olympics left the central Spanish government $4 billion in debt, and the city and provincial governments an additional $2.1 billion in the red. The Nagano Organizing Committee showed a $28 million surplus, while the various units of Japanese government were left with an $11 billion debt (Burton and O’Reilly, 2009). In Athens, public investment exceeded $10 billion, and in Beijing, more than $40 billion.

Is It Worth It?
Finance and Development
March 2010