Circus Maximus: The Economic Gamble Behind Hosting the Olympics and the World Cup

Circus Maximus: The Economic Gamble Behind Hosting the Olympics and the World Cup

Language: English

Pages: 175

ISBN: 0815726511

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

The numbers are staggering: China spent $40 billion to host the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing and Russia spent $50 billion for the 2014 Sochi Winter Games. Brazil's total expenditures are thought to have been as much as $20 billion for the World Cup this summer and Qatar, which will be the site of the 2022 World Cup, is estimating that it will spend $200 billion. How did we get here? And is it worth it? Those are among the questions noted sports economist Andrew Zimbalist answers in Circus Maximus: The Economic Gamble Behind Hosting the Olympics and the World Cup. Both the Olympics and the World Cup are touted as major economic boons for the countries that host them, and the competition is fierce to win hosting rights. Developing countries especially see the events as a chance to stand in the world’s spotlight. Circus Maximus traces the path of the Olympic Games and the World Cup from noble sporting events to exhibits of excess. It exposes the hollowness of the claims made by their private industry boosters and government supporters, all illustrated through a series of case studies ripping open the experiences of Barcelona, Sochi, Rio, and London. Zimbalist finds no net economic gains for the countries that have played host to the Olympics or the World Cup. While the wealthy may profit, those in the middle and lower income brackets do not, and Zimbalist predicts more outbursts of political anger like that seen in Brazil surrounding the 2014 World Cup.




















related cost is that the intense period of construction for the games may disrupt local business. Retail businesses from London, Sochi, Athens, Capetown, and elsewhere tell of high expectations, investments to expand their operations, and then slumps in sales as surrounding streets are cordoned off to foot traffic or become too noisy to attract customers. Security There are also increasing costs for security. Ever since the events of September 11, 2001, security expenses have escalated rapidly.

How Americans Play Baseball and the Rest of the World Plays Soccer (2005). CIRCUS MAXIMUS The Economic Gamble Behind Hosting the Olympics and the World Cup ANDREW ZIMBALIST BROOKINGS INSTITUTION PRESS Washington, D.C. Copyright � 2015 THE BROOKINGS INSTITUTION 1775 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without permission in writing from the

up interest in bidding for future games. His message in each instance was similar: the IOC would look very favorably on a bid from your city. Subsequently, Bach has discussed other reforms to put the bidding process back on track from the IOC's perspective. I discuss these reforms later in the chapter, along with other proposals. Sepp Blatter and FIFA have also been tinkering. FIFA's basic pattern had been to alternate host nations between Europe and the Americas. This pattern was disrupted in

( 29. Author conversations with Luiz Martins de Melo, Christopher Gaffney, and various journalists covering the World Cup. 30. Foreign tourism in Brazil had been growing at 5.7 percent annually from 2009 through 2012. Chapter 4 1. Christopher Gaffney, “Between Discourse and Reality: The Un-Sustainability of Mega-Event Planning,” Sustainability 5 (2013): 3926–40. 2. IOC publications enumerate the

lucky: Nothing happened—no massive security problems, no labor strikes, no transportation breakdowns, and no natural catastrophes.”35 TABLE 2-2. Television Rights Fees for Olympic Games, 1960–2012 Source: IOC, Olympic Marketing File, 2014, p. 26. The figures apply to the total worldwide network commitment of rights fees, both the cash and the technical service components. In recent years the technical service component has been largely defrayed by the host city and the equipment has been paid

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