Qatar will regret hosting the 2022 World Cup

Timothy Carney
Conservative Opinion

Timothy Carney

Timothy Carney, Senior Fellow, American Enterprise Institute
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Selecting Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup was controversial from the start. Critics were bothered by allegations of bribery, human rights concerns and lack of infrastructure.

Qatar is the first Middle East country to host the world’s largest sporting event and spent lavishly on new infrastructure projects, transforming the country. Its minister of finance said in 2017 that it would spend $500 million per week on roads, hotels, stadiums, and airport upgrades, making it the most expensive World Cup in history. Straight Arrow News contributor Tim Carney argues the expenditure will turn out to be a poor investment as well as a major regret.

The World Cup has brought millions of fans to Qatar. It has also brought seven new soccer stadiums and plenty of new infrastructure. When the fans, players, media, and vendors all depart after the final game, the infrastructure and some of the stadiums will still be there. What will the ordinary Qataris think of that? They will probably regret it.

All told, the Qatari government spent about $220 billion, preparing for the World Cup with an estimated $10 billion going to those new stadiums. While the tournament will bring in massive flows of cash to the economy and the government, there is no way the country will recoup its expenditures. hosting the World Cup is not a for-profit undertaking. It’s more like throwing a house party, a ton of people will come they’ll have a good time. Many of them will thank you for your hospitality, and you’ll be a bit poor for it. The same is true of hosting the Olympics. If you have to build new infrastructure to host an event, you’re probably not going to come out ahead. What about the ongoing benefits from the new infrastructure though?

Will the Qataris benefit from a new airport, new hospitals, and better roads? Yes, these capital improvements will provide some value. That’s not the question though. We have to compare these roads, stadiums, hospitals, and airports, to what they replaced or displace and consider what they cost. Some of the soccer stadiums will be disassembled and donated or recycled afterward, so there will be no lasting benefit from them. Other infrastructure was custom-built for millions of visitors and tourists. But 99% of the time from now on, Qatar will not have millions of visitors and tourists. That means many of these roads and projects will go unused or underused. The money materials and space dedicated to this sparsely used infrastructure could have gone to something more useful.

There’s a broader lesson here: subsidizing sports is a bad idea. Cities in the U.S. at subsidized sports stadiums do not tend to see financial gains. This is one of the most consistent findings in economics.

Scholars John Bradbury, Dennis Coates, and Brad Humphreys reviewed 130 studies on this question conducted over the past 30 years, they concluded quote, the large subsidies commonly devoted to constructing professional sports venues are not justified as worthwhile public investments.

So during this World Cup, Qatar has faced many criticisms over its human rights record and it’s corruption. The economics tells us that the government is also guilty of impoverishing its people in order to throw a big month long party.

The World Cup has brought millions of fans to Qatar along with 64 national teams. It has also brought seven new soccer stadiums and plenty of new infrastructure. When the fans, players, media and vendors all depart after the final game, the infrastructure and some of the stadiums will still be there. What will the ordinary Qataris think of that? They will probably regret it. All totaled, the Qatari government spent about $220 billion, preparing for the World Cup with an estimated $10 billion going to those new stadiums. While the tournament will bring in massive flows of cash to the economy and the government, there is no way the country will recoup its expenditures. hosting the World Cup is not a for profit undertaking. It’s more like throwing a house party, a ton of people will come they’ll have a good time. Many of them will thank you for your hospitality, and you’ll be a bit poor for it. The same is true of hosting the Olympics. If you have to build new infrastructure to host an event, you’re probably not going to come out ahead. What about the ongoing benefits from the new infrastructure though? Once the Qatar is benefit from a new airport, new hospitals and better roads? Yes, these capital improvements will provide some value. That’s not the question though. We have to compare these roads, stadiums, hospitals and airports, to what they replaced or displace and consider what they cost. Some of the soccer stadiums will be disassembled and donated or recycled afterwards, so there will be no lasting benefit from them. Other infrastructure was custom built for millions of visitors and tourists. But 99% of the time from now on, Qatar will not have millions of visitors and tourists. That means many of these roads and projects will go unused or underused. The money materials and space dedicated to this sparsely used infrastructure could have gone to something more useful. There’s a broader lesson here. subsidizing sports is a bad idea. cities in the US at subsidized sports stadiums do not tend to see financial gains. This is one of the most consistent findings in economics. Scholars John Bradbury, Dennis Coates and Brad Humphreys reviewed 130 studies on this question conducted over the past 30 years, they concluded quote, the large subsidies commonly devoted to constructing professional sports venues are not justified as worthwhile public investments. So during this World Cup, Qatar has faced many criticisms over its human rights record and it’s corruption. The economics tells us that the government is also guilty of impoverishing its people in order to throw a big month long party


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