The Olympics are often regarded as the most esteemed sporting event. Being chosen as the host for the Olympics is seen as a source of national pride. Each country selects its top athletes to compete in the games. Notably, the Tokyo Olympics occurred recently and were met with great acclaim. Remarkably, despite the ongoing pandemic, none of the participants tested positive for COVID-19.
The Tokyo Olympics were originally scheduled for 2020, but due to the pandemic, they had to be postponed. Interestingly, even though the Olympics took place in 2021, they kept the name “2020 Olympics” for branding consistency. The decision to have Tokyo as the host city for the Olympics was made during the 125th session of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on September 7, 2013.
The 2020 Tokyo Olympics mark the fourth occasion that Japan has hosted the Olympic Games. Previously, Japan held the Summer Games in Tokyo 1964, and the Winter Games in Sapporo 1972 and Nagano 1998. Notably, Japan stands as the sole Asian nation to have organized the Summer Olympics twice. The Tokyo Olympics concluded on August 9, 2021.
The Tokyo Olympics holds the record for being the priciest summer Olympics to date. The total expenditure for these games reached approximately 26 billion dollars, which is quite a significant figure. Interestingly, the initial projected cost for the Olympics was only 7.4 billion dollars, highlighting how the actual expenses ended up being over three times the original budget.
This occurrence might raise eyebrows, but it’s not unique to the Tokyo Olympics alone. This trend has been unfolding since 1960. From that year onward, the expenses associated with hosting the Olympics have consistently exceeded the estimated budgets of the hosting nations.
Why are the Olympics so Expensive?
Hosting the Olympics is no trivial matter; it’s a significant undertaking. Any country aiming to be a host has to meticulously plan a decade in advance. This extended timeline is a result of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) setting specific criteria that must be met by the hosting nation. Naturally, meeting these criteria requires a substantial financial commitment. The initial bidding phase alone demands an expenditure in the tens of millions.
During the bidding process, numerous countries throw their hats into the ring, all vying for the chance to host the Olympics. However, the IOC eventually narrows down the selection to a single country that will have the honor of hosting the event. Throughout this evaluation, the IOC thoroughly assesses potential game venues and stadium construction sites. Sadly, the funds spent by the other countries involved in the bidding process end up as unrecoverable expenses, as they can’t be reversed or reclaimed.
Once the bidding process concludes successfully, the host nation embarks on an extensive journey to establish all the necessary infrastructure for hosting the games. In the present times, a hosting country is tasked with constructing 35 distinct athletic venues. An Olympic village, a crucial component, demands an investment ranging from 1.5 to 3 billion dollars. Additionally, the establishment of a media and television production facility, essential for broadcasting the event, can easily tally up to 0.5 to 1 billion dollars.
Further requisites encompass a media village, a ceremonial space, and designated green areas. Among these, a pivotal requirement involves creating a seamless transportation system to ferry athletes from the Olympic villages to the stadiums. This often necessitates the construction of separate lanes. Beyond these, a myriad of other expenses arise, extending beyond what’s outlined in this enumeration.
However, it’s important to note that the entirety of the blame cannot solely rest upon the shoulders of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). On occasion, the host nations themselves exceed reasonable limits when constructing the stadiums and Olympic villages. A noteworthy concern arises once the games conclude, as many nations find themselves grappling with the aftermath of these imposing structures. The upkeep of these buildings can swiftly accumulate costs reaching into the hundreds of millions of dollars.
Tragically, a number of these edifices have gradually fallen into a state of disrepair after the Olympic festivities have come to an end. This aspect played a role in the escalated expenses incurred by this year’s Tokyo Olympics. Due to the postponement of the games, the Japanese government was compelled to allocate additional funds to maintain these structures, ensuring they remained operational until the rescheduled event.
These constructions not only strain the wallets of taxpayers but also cast a shadow over the environment. A poignant example is the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, where the process of preparation involved cutting into mountain slopes and felling trees. This unfortunate undertaking resulted in the devastation of an entire mountainside, leading to the displacement of trees and animals, some of which were already on the brink of extinction.
The Olympics wield long-lasting effects on nations, and at times, the extravagant costs of hosting the games can plunge countries into significant debt. A notable example is the 1976 Montreal Olympics, where the Canadian Government’s expenses skyrocketed to 1.5 billion dollars, a staggering increase from the initial estimated cost of 120 million. Canada managed to pay off these debts only in 2016. Similarly, certain nations like Greece are grappling with economic crises primarily due to the weight of crippling debts linked to past Olympic events.
Interestingly, this wasn’t the case from the outset. In the past, host nations used to garner profits from the games. This was attainable as they were able to collect a portion of their revenue from television rights. However, the dynamics have shifted over the years, with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) claiming a progressively larger share. A telling contrast can be seen in the ’90s when the IOC took a mere 4% of the revenue, juxtaposed with the 70% slice it secured from the revenue of the 2016 Rio Olympics.
The sole instance of a nation reaping profit from the Olympics can be traced back to the 1984 Los Angeles (LA) Olympics. The event yielded a surplus of 215 million dollars. This success was attributed to LA’s existing infrastructure advantage and its unique status as the sole bidder for the Olympics during that period. This advantageous position enabled them to negotiate favorable terms with the IOC.
So is that it, No more Olympic Games?
Over the progression of time, there’s a recognizable decrease in the quantity of nations competing to have the Olympic Games. The The International Olympic Committee (IOC) as of late unveiled that Paris has been decided for the 2024 occasion, while Los Angeles will assume the job of host in 2028 for the Mid year Olympics. This denotes an extraordinary event where two successive hosts have been chosen because of an absence of willing bidders.
By the by, it’s impossible that the Olympic custom will disappear. To address the mounting concerns, the top of the IOC has proposed a system to ease the monetary weight on have countries. The arrangement includes cooperative endeavors between the facilitating nation and the IOC to fastidiously configuration outlines for the necessary foundation, in this way limiting superfluous costs. Nonetheless, it’s significant that this recommendation stays hypothetical and its reasonable effect is yet to be noticed.