Skip to comments.Do The Olympics Ever Break Even?
Posted on 02/24/2014 9:48:53 AM PST by Phillyred
ll the medals have been won, all the puppies taken home. The Winter Games are over. But the end of the Olympics is just the beginning of the story for Sochi, which now has the unenviable task of putting itself back on track after three years of rushed development.
Russia spent $51 billion on these gamesa record-breaking sum that bested the last Winter Games host, Vancouver, by more than $40 billion. There were the venues, the roads, the hotels, the roadsthe amount of investment was incredible. But was it worth it? Russia hopes so. The idea is that Sochi will become a tourism magnet thanks to its newfound notoriety. But given that the city is in a relatively remote location, it seems unlikely that hoards of tourists will descend upon it simply to see the venues. Some of the venueslike Fisht Stadiumwere designed to be downsized into smaller, more usable spaces. Others were not.
Only time will tell if Sochi will emerge as a bustling tourism hub. But how have other recent host cities fared? We took a look below.
London is actually still in the arduous process of converting its Olympic Village into a mixed-use development, which will eventually include everything from two schools to 22 miles of footpathsas well as 8,000 new homes and a bustling shopping center. The former Olympic stadium, which sat 80,000 people, was downsized to seat 60,000 as a football arena for West Ham.
Final tally: In the end, London spent $10.4 billion on the games, but reported (PDF) a profit of $87 million in March of 2013. Which is smallbut better than losing cash, nonetheless.
Beijing's had a hard time reintegrating its sprawling Olympic park with the rest of the city. NPR reports that many of the former Olympic venues sit empty and abandoned todaythough one notable bright spot is the aquatic Water Cube, which was converted into the Happy Magic Water Park after the games:
Final tally: Beijing spent $44 billion on the Games, but reported a $146 million profit in 2009.
Though Turin, like Sochi, was a lesser-known city before it hosted the Winter Olympics, it's boomed in the time sincetourism has increased and the former venues are reportedly still in use.
Final tally: Despite that, Turin was still over budget by more than $3 billion, with a loss of $3.2 million.
Athens represents the great fear of other host cities. The city went almost $10 billion over its budget for the Gamesand that was in 2003!and just about all of its Olympic venues lie unused today, a blight on a struggling city.
Final tally: Athens accrued $14 billion in debt from the gamesand some economists even suggest that the massive cost overruns sparked the financial crisis that Greece is still dealing with today.
So, financially speaking, it's a mixed bag. Losses have increased over the past two decadesand even when cities have broken even or profited, questions about the urban legacy of these sprawling venues have lingered.
On the other hand, it's also possible to argue that it's impossible to quantify the value of the Olympics in monetary termsthey are a long-term investment in a city's future. Let us know what you think in the comments.
also Peter Uberroth turned a profit with the ‘84 Games in Los Angeles.
“Do The Olympics Ever Break Even?”
Who cares? Enjoy them!
Modern Olympic Games have produced profits and losses for their host cities, with the table below listing the hard costs of the Games. Due to the multitude of reporting methods, the table contains both the operating costs and total final costs (which include various infrastructure upgrades and security costs), known or estimated. Net loss or gain are measured against the operating budgets. Intangible costs (such as to the environment and society) and total benefits (through tourism) are not included here.
SEE HERE FOR THE COST AND GAIN/LOSS OF EVERY OLYMPIC:
Because Uberroth and LA was smart enough to use existing infrastructure, for example the LA Coliseum and Pauley Pavilion at UCLA. I doubt the corrupt IOC would accept a city using older and and used infrastructure.
Exactly. Mitt Romney’s Olympics more than broke even.
Lillehammer got a TV show out of the deal.
Does that count in the money spent on bribery and graft (which, I will note, was pre-Romney and one of the reasons he was brought in)?
The Calgary site looks like an abandoned industrial park. It is a huge waste of money. 50 billion for Sochi? How?
Salt Lake City cost $2 billion and made $101 million.
Sochi cost $51 billion, more than all previous Winter Olympics combined. There is no way Sochi is going to break even.
because the same company which did the web site for ObamaCare handled Sochi!
It is a huge waste of money.
Really? It was a fantastic two week break from the never ending, mind numbingly depressing 24/7, 365 days a year flow of nothing but bad news. I was sad when the bear blew the olympic flame out. Now it’s back to nothing but crap.
They are not meant to break even or make money for most countries....they are to amuse the ruling class of the host country, showcase their country and legitimize their rule.....
All on the backs of the their serfs...Oops, I meant citizens....
HA! The answer for the ‘98 Nagano Winter Games is “we’ll never know”. Cause some corrupt Japanese pol burned the books!
Exactly. It is a way to showcase a country at great expense.
Bear in mind that accounting for Olympics is best summed up by the punch line of an old accountant’s joke: “What do you want it to be.”
If the games aren’t going to be economically viable in the host city, they shouldn’t be hosted.
Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out. I don’t believe China. Knowing them they could have buried the venues, say they made a mint and the NY Times would tout it as a Mecca for sports.
Well, I do care when it is my city that is bidding on becoming a host. The unrealistic pie-in-the-sky projections are used to force a boondoggle on the (relatively few) taxpayers who ultimately bear the cost of bailing them out.
There’s a difference between losing money and not economically viable. Notice with these tallies it’s billions spent and millions made or lost (except for Greece). Really I think the big question the cities need to ask themselves is what they’ll do with all the facilities when the games go away. If they’re going to continue to be an integral part of the city go for it because even if they don’t make short term profit they’ll add to life of the people in the city. If they don’t have any idea then don’t do it because even if they turn a short term profit having all those buildings rotting away will lose them money and happiness for the future.
do we REALLY care?
If I didn’t care I wouldn’t have clicked on it or commented.
The point of the Olympics is to make very rich the insiders in the host city and on the Olympic committee.
Remember how obama’s friend the slum lord Valerie Jarrett controlled the land (not owning it but controlling it) around the proposed site of the Olympics but even they were shocked at the corruption and passed.