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When London hosted the Olympics in 2012, it was a very exciting and unique time. It filled the country with morale and eagerness to watch the games commence. The Olympics are always fun to watch whilst you do your day to day life, and the constant news articles of interesting stories keep us entertained. Then, when they conclude, you continue with your usual routine, and wait for the next Olympics, four years later. For many cities that hosted though, they do not move on as fast. Do these countries prosper with financial gains and boost their economic strength, or are there serious risks to hosting the titan sporting event?
To host the Olympics, you submit a bid to the International Olympic Committee, which will cost millions of dollars. Tokyo had placed a bid to host the games back in 2016, for a total of $150 million. Then for the 2020 games, they won with a bid of $75 million. For this year’s games, Japan had set a budget of $7.4 billion, but now the total leans over $22 billion, with 75% of that being paid by taxpayers. To compare; London cost $14.6 billion, Beijing was $42 million, and Rio de Janeiro totalled $22 billion.
Once the city wins the bid, the cities transport systems, such as airports, railways and roads, will be upgraded to support the influx of people entering the area. Beijing spent $22.5 billion on upgrading its transport system, and then a further $11.25 billion to have the city cleaned. The Olympic village will also be constructed, which will be huge accommodation for the athletes. For Tokyo, the Olympic village has 3600 rooms and 18,000 beds, which equates to 21 towers at 18 stories high. The cost for infrastructure is high when hosting the Olympics, and a large portion of the budget will be spent on this area. Once the games conclude, the city must then face a new task; how to reuse the hotels, stadiums and other newly assembled structures, and make the most of these upgrades.
When looking back on previous hosts of the Olympic games, there is a concerning trend with the previously populated venues. Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana stadium is now totally abandoned, with thousands of seats that have been torn out, televisions that have been stolen and a large dead field in the centre, symbolizing the death of the stadium. This continues in Beijing, where you can find images of their mascot, Fu Niu Lele, covered in overgrown branches in a shopping centre that was never completed. You can see this in Bosnia, Athens, Russia, Berlin and many more, the images of abandoned venues can be easily found and are worryingly common.
Hosting the Olympics is a great way to have a large influx of supporters travelling to the host’s city, which will be beneficial to the country. Although the large sum of money countries pay to be chosen to host, then upgrade their facilities, only for these venues to typically end up abandoned seems wasteful and predictable. Tokyo’s opening ceremony achieved 16.7 million viewers in the United States, which is the lowest in 33 years. The viewership for the previous opening ceremonies has decreased each year, which could show that the public is losing interest in the world-famous event. This may affect the bidding price, or discourage any potential hosts from bidding in the first place.
Saffron Financial is the in-house direct lead generation arm of Saffron Asset Finance.
Saffron Financial provides brokerage services to businesses and individuals in the UK through a range of financial services.