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Cities Take a Huge Hit from Hosting the Olympics

General+view+of+the+Olympic+Softball+stadium+at+the+Helliniko+Olympic+complex+in+Athens%2C+Greece+on+July+31%2C+2014.+%28Milos+Bicanski%2FGetty+Images%29
General view of the Olympic Softball stadium at the Helliniko Olympic complex in Athens, Greece on July 31, 2014. (Milos Bicanski/Getty Images)

General view of the Olympic Softball stadium at the Helliniko Olympic complex in Athens, Greece on July 31, 2014. (Milos Bicanski/Getty Images)

Getty Images

Getty Images

General view of the Olympic Softball stadium at the Helliniko Olympic complex in Athens, Greece on July 31, 2014. (Milos Bicanski/Getty Images)

Heather Watkins, Contributor

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It’s no secret just how big the Olympics are, but do we really know just how much it costs to host such events?  There are the cities that make some, or great profit by hosting the games, but then there are the cities that plan super poorly, or the cities that spend so lavishly, or even a combination of both that they cause damage that took/take years or even decades to fix. Some had to be saved by bailouts from their national or state governments. So, now cities are starting to question if it’s even worth risking. 

The 2004 Olympics may not have been the full reason behind Greece’s financial meltdown but hosting the Games surely couldn’t have helped the cause. The Greek government completely spent over their original budget by about 97 percent. The country sat around for the first couple of years of the seven-year preparation period, only kicking into high gear after the IOC (The International Olympic Committee) threatened to pick a different host city. In consequence, Greece was forced to pay the builders a large amount of extra money to ensure that the buildings would be ready in time. They also “spent lavishly, building a brand-new airport, subway system, numerous stadiums, and train station. But at the end of the Games it left most of the sporting venues abandoned and the Olympic Village has all fallen into neglect now that the Games are over,” according to the article, “7 of the Biggest Financial Disasters in Modern Olympic History.”

One city that has not suffered from a ‘financial meltdown’ while hosting the Olympics was none other than Los Angeles in 1984. When they hosted the Olympics they did something unusual, instead of going into debt, they made a great profit. The Games generated an amazing amount of about $200 million, something no other host city has been able to pull of.  According to fortune.com, the other cities have been “unable to copy L.A.’s model of success because the 1984 Games were unique in many ways. The location was just overall amazing, the city was already equipped with enough facilities, so the planning committee only had to upgrade existing sports venues.” Tehran, the only other bidder at the time dropped out. Which looking back I’m pretty sure they’re happy they did. Plus, L.A. was already a major tourist attraction, unlike other recent hosts whose isolation has proven problematic for drawing crowds and maintaining them once the Games are over.  

So how do you think Pyeongchang will do during this year’s 2018 Olympics? Will it send them spiraling into debt or will they top the profit of Los Angeles from 2004? 

 

 

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Cities Take a Huge Hit from Hosting the Olympics