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State of the Screens

Is the Cost of Hosting the Olympics Worth Its Weight in Gold?

By July 29, 2021No Comments


Big question #1: Are the Olympics a good investment for host countries?

Quick answer: Probably not.

Summer Olympics host country budget (initial → final)(% overbudget):
1) 2004 (Athens) – $3B → $16B (↑ 433%)
2) 2008 (Beijing) – $20B → $45B (↑ 125%)
3) 2012 (London) – $5B → $18B (↑ 260%)
4) 2016 (Rio) – $14B → $20B (↑ 43%)
5) 2020 (Tokyo) – $13B → $26B (↑ 106%)

Wow: Every Olympics since 1960 has been overbudget, with a 172% overage being the average!

Quote from Andrew Zimbalist – Professor @ Smith College:
“If you go back four or five Olympic Games, consistently you have several European cities dropping their bids because of a plebiscite or their residents voted, “No, we don’t want to do this.” They’re looking at the balance sheet, which is overwhelmingly negative. They’re looking at the social and environmental disruption, which is extremely problematic.

What the I.O.C. has done in response to that is introduce a few tepid reforms. One of which is putting all the bidding behind closed doors. They’re sick and tired of being embarrassed by cities dropping out. So the process is now secretive.”

Video: How the Tokyo Olympics Became the Most Expensive Summer Games Ever

Michael Beach

Michael Beach

Michael Beach is the Chief Executive Officer of Cross Screen Media, a media analytics and software company that enables marketers to plan, activate, and measure CTV and linear TV at the local level. Michael is also the founder and editor of State of the Screens, a weekly newsletter focused on video advertising that is a must-read for thought leaders in the advertising industry. He has appeared in such publications as PBS Frontline, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Axios, CNBC and Bloomberg, and on NPR’s Planet Money podcast.

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