Ground Report | New Delhi: No nation wants to host Olympics; The Olympic flag is made up of which is the largest sporting event in the world. Before the 21st century, sports brought enormous benefits to the host country, but not anymore. Hosting the Olympic Games has become a very costly affair, which is only made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The International Olympic Committee will have to continue to make significant economic changes to the Games if it is to find interested hosts for the world’s major sporting event.
No nation wants to host Olympics
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) accepts applications from various national committees that wish to host the Games. Once the IOC selects the winning country, it has a decade to change the city according to the IOC’s requirements. It includes public transport, stadiums, and a full Olympic Village.
The final cost usually overshoots the estimated cost
Hosting is expensive. Every game in the last 50 years has gone over budget. The 2014 Sochi Winter Games exceeded its $10 billion budget by an additional $41 billion. Cities profited from the games, partly because they collected a lot of revenue in TV rights. But lately, the International Olympic Committee has been taking large percentages. For example, in the 90s, it took 4% of revenue. Compared to the 70% found at the 2016 Rio Games.
So the host country suffers huge losses, some like Greece (2014) have paid off the debt to date. Tokyo is set to suffer even more, given the 1-year delay and additional COVID precautions.
Another important factor in cost escalation has been the bidding process which pits cities against each other. A winning bid needs to show not only how the host will successfully manage the competition, a massive undertaking in itself, but also that it gives the IOC more facilities, more prestige, and more than any other competing bid.
How to generate revenue, leading into an arms race where offers are becoming increasingly lavish and increasingly expensive. The bidding process became so infamous that the IOC’s 2019 reforms attempted to include bidding and, instead, behind-the-scenes discussions with potential hosts. It is too early to tell whether this latest improvement will result in a significant reduction in hosting costs.
Another major problem is that the additional stadiums and apartments that were built for the Rio Olympics are now completely abandoned, costing the country millions to maintain.
This is why countries don’t want to host the Olympics anymore. In fact, there was only one bidder each for the 2024 and 2028 games (Los Angeles and Paris) who won the hosting rights by default. Despite its flaws, the Olympic Games are still people-pleasing. The IOC voted on host cities for the 2020 Games and was in support of 70% of Tokyo, 76% of Madrid, and 83% of Istanbul.
So, maybe the Olympics aren’t over, but it’s certainly up to the International Olympic Committee to put the Games on hold. Both on and off the field.