Filed Under: Business

Report: Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics 10x over budget, more proof hosting is a bad deal

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Holding the Olympic torch is an honor for those who get the opportunity. But hosting the Olympics? The way host countries burn through money, it’s really become more of a financial burden.

Take the Beijing Winter Olympics. China is officially reporting that it’ll cost $3.9 billion to host, which would be the cheapest Olympics in decades. But a Business Insider investigation reveals the actual sum is a lot closer to $38.5 billion, 10 times what China is reporting.

To compare, when Beijing hosted the 2008 Summer Olympics, the real cost was north of $40 billion.

It’s not a one-off, either. Since 1960, every Olympics has been over budget by an average of 172%, according to an analysis by Oxford researchers.

“It’s the highest overrun on record for any type of megaproject,” the researchers wrote.

Tokyo said it would spend $7.3 billion for the 2020 Olympics, but a government audit revealed the real cost was at least $28 billion. For Rio 2016, $14 billion was budgeted but the country spent $20 billion. In 2014, the Sochi budget was $10.3 billion. The actual cost blew it out of the water at $51 billion.

Between the cost of operating the 2-week affair, building the venues, and providing security and lodging and food for athletes, the price of being the center of sports for a season is getting too high for some countries to stomach.

For this Winter Olympics, only two countries were even in contention, China and Kazakhstan. Norway’s Oslo was also a finalist but dropped its bid after the government voted against paying for it. More countries are following Norway’s lead more frequently.

While the International Olympic Committee has always fought the idea of a permanent location to host the Olympics, with fewer and fewer cities signing up to bid for the hosting honor, it might not have a choice in the future.

SIMONE DEL ROSARIO: HOLDING THE OLYMPIC TORCH, NOW THAT’S AN HONOR. BUT HOSTING THE OLYMPICS? THAT’S BAD BUSINESS. AND CITIES AROUND THE WORLD HAVE CAUGHT ON.

TAKE THE BEIJING WINTER OLYMPICS. CHINA IS OFFICIALLY REPORTING IT’LL COST THE COUNTRY 3.9 BILLION TO HOST – WHICH WOULD BE THE CHEAPEST OLYMPICS IN DECADES. 

BUT A BUSINESS INSIDER INVESTIGATION REVEALS THE ACTUAL SUM – IS A LOT CLOSER TO 38.5 BILLION – 10 TIMES WHAT’S BEING REPORTED.

TO COMPARE – WHEN BEIJING HOSTED THE SUMMER OLYMPICS IN 2008, THE REAL COST WAS NORTH OF 40 BILLION.

IT’S NOT A ONE-OFF. SINCE 1960, EVERY OLYMPICS HAS BEEN OVER BUDGET – AN AVERAGE OF 172%, ACCORDING TO AN ANALYSIS BY OXFORD RESEARCHERS. 

THEY SAY IT’S “THE HIGHEST OVERRUN ON RECORD FOR ANY TYPE OF MEGAPROJECT.”

TOKYO SAID IT WOULD SPEND 7.3 BILLION – THE REAL COST WAS AT LEAST 4 TIMES THAT.

RIO BUDGETED 14 AND SPENT 20.

SOCHI BUDGETED 10.3 – AND SPENT 51!

EACH ITEM WITH DOLLAR SIGNS AND MONEY SFX]

THERE’S THE COST OF OPERATING THE TWO WEEK AFFAIR – SECURITY – LODGING AND FOOD FOR ATHLETES, AND OF COURSE THE VENUES.

SO WHY HOST AT ALL? MANY COUNTRIES NO LONGER SEE THE POINT. 

FOR THIS WINTER OLYMPICS, ONLY TWO COUNTRIES WERE EVEN IN CONTENTION, CHINA AND KAZAKHSTAN. 

NORWAY’S OSLO WAS ALSO A FINALIST – BUT DROPPED ITS BID AFTER THE GOVERNMENT VOTED AGAINST PAYING FOR IT.

AND THAT HAPPENS – QUITE A LOT.

WHILE THE INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEE HAS ALWAYS FOUGHT AGAINST THE IDEA OF A PERMANENT LOCATION TO HOST THE OLYMPICS, WITH FEWER AND FEWER CITIES SIGNING UP TO BID FOR THE HOSTING HONOR, ONE DAY IT MIGHT NOT HAVE A CHOICE.

I’M SIMONE DEL ROSARIO FROM NEW YORK IT’S JUST BUSINESS.

Holding the Olympic torch is an honor for those who get the opportunity. But hosting the Olympics? The way host countries burn through money, it’s really become more of a financial burden.

Take the Beijing Winter Olympics. China is officially reporting that it’ll cost $3.9 billion to host, which would be the cheapest Olympics in decades. But a Business Insider investigation reveals the actual sum is a lot closer to $38.5 billion, 10 times what China is reporting.

To compare, when Beijing hosted the 2008 Summer Olympics, the real cost was north of $40 billion.

It’s not a one-off, either. Since 1960, every Olympics has been over budget by an average of 172%, according to an analysis by Oxford researchers.

“It’s the highest overrun on record for any type of megaproject,” the researchers wrote.

Tokyo said it would spend $7.3 billion for the 2020 Olympics, but a government audit revealed the real cost was at least $28 billion. For Rio 2016, $14 billion was budgeted but the country spent $20 billion. In 2014, the Sochi budget was $10.3 billion. The actual cost blew it out of the water at $51 billion.

Between the cost of operating the 2-week affair, building the venues, and providing security and lodging and food for athletes, the price of being the center of sports for a season is getting too high for some countries to stomach.

For this Winter Olympics, only two countries were even in contention, China and Kazakhstan. Norway’s Oslo was also a finalist but dropped its bid after the government voted against paying for it. More countries are following Norway’s lead more frequently.

While the International Olympic Committee has always fought the idea of a permanent location to host the Olympics, with fewer and fewer cities signing up to bid for the hosting honor, it might not have a choice in the future.

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