December 8, 2022


Worldwide Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach has not too long ago mentioned that India is among the many aspiring nations to host the Olympics in 2036, 2040, and past. Olympics in India? Sounds fascinating — be it in Mumbai, Delhi, or Ahmedabad — in 2048 as part of the centenary celebration of the Independence, and even earlier than.

Internet hosting the primary Asian Video games in New Delhi in 1951 was actually an excellent assertion for the newly unbiased nation. Nevertheless, India’s expertise of organising the 2010 Commonwealth Video games will not be fairly inspiring, for certain. Very often, internet hosting mega multi-discipline occasions just like the Olympics is an exhibition of the capability of the host nation. Japan wished to painting the 1964 Tokyo Video games as a story of its miraculous restoration from the Battle. China handled the 2008 Beijing Olympics to showcase its stature as a giant world energy.

The first argument behind internet hosting mega multi-discipline occasions, nonetheless, is that the host metropolis turns into enriched with civic infrastructure at a speedy tempo along with the state-of-art sports activities services. A lift in tourism can also be desired, however traditionally the affect of the Olympics on tourism is combined — because the safety, crowding, and better costs that the Olympics deliver dissuade many guests.

Barcelona was successful story by way of tourism, it rose from the eleventh to the sixth hottest vacation spot in Europe after the 1992 Olympics. Sydney in 2000 and Vancouver in 2010 each skilled slight will increase in tourism, whereas the affect of Olympics on tourism in London in 2012, Beijing in 2008, and Salt Lake Metropolis in 2002 had been damaging.

The price issue

The price of internet hosting the Olympic Video games has snowballed. Even bidding and lobbying are fairly costly. In truth, in 1972, Denver grew to become the primary and solely chosen host metropolis to reject its Olympics after voters handed a referendum. The skyrocketing prices of staging the Olympics dissuaded many nations in current occasions. Cities resembling Oslo, Stockholm, Lviv, and Krakow had dropped out of the race for internet hosting the 2022 Winter Olympics, and Boston, Budapest, Hamburg, and Rome additionally withdrew their efforts for the 2024 Summer time Video games.

Los Angeles in 1984 and Barcelona in 1992 are the 2 financially profitable Olympics in current historical past, as pointed by American economist Andrew Zimbalist in his 2015 e book ‘Circus Maximus: The Financial Gamble Behind Internet hosting the Olympics and the World Cup’.

In truth, the 1984 Video games kick-started the period of company sponsorship within the Video games, and the tv rights had been additionally bought for nearly thrice the quantity of 1980. Barcelona made a $10 million revenue in 1992 to grow to be the poster-child of success in Olympics internet hosting.

Subsequently, after all, Atlanta in 1996 and Beijing in 2008 registered wholesome earnings, and London in 2012 reported no-profit-no-loss, however Sydney in 2000, Athens in 2004, and Rio de Janeiro in 2016 all skilled enormous losses. Critics resembling Miles Wray identified that any try and host the most important, grandest Video games may be in comparison with “a household shoving themselves out of business by insisting their ceremonial dinner have silk napkins, a personal chef, gold-speckled sundaes.”

And Zimbalist writes: “A lot of the alleged legacy comes within the type of qualitative positive aspects, and the remaining comes over very lengthy durations of time.” It’s actually fairly simpler to host Olympics with current infrastructure. With LA scheduled to host the 2028 Olympics, it could be utilizing infrastructure that’s already in place.

In a 2018 working paper in Harvard Enterprise College, Isao Okada and Stephen A Greyser mentioned the so-called ‘white elephants’, or costly services that, due to their measurement or specialised nature, have restricted post-Olympics use. Sydney’s Olympic stadium now prices the town $30 million a 12 months to take care of. Equally, Beijing’s well-known “Chook’s Nest” stadium prices $10 million a 12 months to take care of, and sits unused.

Virtually all of the services constructed for the 2004 Athens Olympics, whose prices contributed to the Greek debt disaster, at the moment are derelict. Okada and Greyser revealed key components to stop Olympic websites from turning into ‘white elephants’ from the viewpoints of venue sustainability and Olympic legacy — resembling decreasing capability after the Olympic Video games, steady selective significant re-investment after the Olympic Video games, and so forth.

Debt hangover

The so-called “implicit prices” embody the chance prices of public spending that would have been spent on different priorities. The 1976 Montreal Olympics grew to become a logo of the monetary dangers of internet hosting, saddling the town’s taxpayers with $1.5 billion in debt that took three many years to repay. Greece’s billions in Olympic debt was the catalyst to bankrupt the nation.

And the debt and upkeep prices within the Sochi 2014 Winter Video games will price Russian taxpayers practically $1 billion per 12 months for the foreseeable future. And we now realized in regards to the affect of viruses on internet hosting the Olympics as nicely. The 2016 Rio Video games needed to deal with issues in regards to the Zika virus. Extra not too long ago, the pandemic-hit one-year-delayed Tokyo 2020 grew to become the most costly Video games in historical past. About 80 per cent of Japanese had been in favour of both cancellation or additional postponement of it.

Nevertheless, the choice to cancel the video games lies in the end and unilaterally with the IOC — as per the settlement of the IOC with the host. The agreements for future occasions ought to care for such loopholes. Total, personally, the prospect of holding the Olympics in India is kind of thrilling.

Might India emulate the fashions of LA and Barcelona Video games ultimately? By no means simple although. Nevertheless, the expertise from the earlier Video games may assist to make it extra economically viable.

The author is Professor of Statistics, Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata



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