Hosting an Olympics!

Let us look at the bid process of an Olympics.

Bid process for an Olympic generally starts 11 years before the Olympics are actually going to take place. The bid process takes place in 2 phases.

Phases 1: International Olympic Committee (IOC) invites city’s applications. The applicant cities are required to answer a questionnaire highlighting the plans. IOC evaluates the plans and shortlists candidates for the second phase – Candidature stage.

Phase 2: The shortlisted cities also now called as candidate cities. They are now required to fill another questionnaire. This questionnaire is a very detailed document regarding candidate cities plan to host Olympics.  These documents go through a very detailed evaluation by different groups – IOC Evaluation committee, sports federations, athletes etc. After this, evaluation commission makes inspection visits to each of the candidate cities. A report is submitted to IOC post visits.

Post this, an IOC session is conducted.  All active IOC members then elect the winning candidate through a voting procedure.

Hosting an Olympics is no mean feat. It requires lots of planning and huge budgets. Submitting a bid generally costs between $50 million to $100 million. Cities have to spend on consultations, event organizers etc. during the bid process. Here are the major costs involved in hosting an Olympics:

  1. Bidding Costs
  2. Infrastructure Cost: Roads, Hotels, transportation etc.
  3. Stadiums for various Olympic sports
  4. Olympic Village for athletes to stay during games
  5. Maintenance cost of stadiums after the games
  6. Operational costs

Here is how much it has cost to host Olympics in recent times:

While there are huge costs involved in hosting the games, there are also some benefits of hosting an Olympics:

  1. Increased tourism
  2. Revenue from sponsors for broadcasting and covering Olympics
  3. Revenue from tickets
  4. Building of better sports infrastructure
  5. Increased jobs in the host city

If you do a cost-benefit analysis, hosting an Olympics has not been financially beneficial for host cities. The high costs are not off-set by the financial benefits and host cities have to take on large debts. Some part of this debt is then passed on to tax-payers. A case in point is 1976 Montreal Games. It took Montreal 30 years to clear off the debt it took to host Olympics. Money spent on building facilities for Athens Olympics contributed to Greek debt crisis. Due to these reasons, number of countries interested in hosting an Olympics have gone down considerably in the recent time.

Here is a list of all the Olympic host cities till now:

1896 – Athens
1900 – Paris
1904 – St. Louis
1908 – London
1912 – Stockholm
1920 – Antwerp
1924 – Paris
1928 – Amsterdam
1932 – Los Angeles
1936 – Berlin
1948 – London
1952 – Helsinki
1956 – Melbourne
1960 – Rome
1964 – Tokyo
1968 – Mexico City
1972 – Munich
1976 – Montreal
1980 – Moscow
1984 – Los Angeles
1988 – Seoul
1992 – Barcelona
1996 – Atlanta
2000 – Sydney
2004 – Athens
2008 – Beijing
2012 – London
2016 – Rio de Janeiro
2020 – Tokyo
2024 – Paris
2028 – Los Angeles

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