February 19, 2020

Olympic Gold

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If you are not a sports fan you will already be bored with the Olympics. To you I apologise in advance.

It will come as no surprise that there was a lot of coverage in the press in the run up to the games, and true to form the UK media has been resoundingly negative about the whole affair. Problems with the security contractor took centre stage and moaning about the “Olympic lane” system on the roads coming in a close second.

London Olympics 2012

London Olympics 2012 (Photo credit: Andrea Vascellari)

However since the games have started, the national mood has changed and there seems to be genuine positive feeling about the games nationwide. There is also blanket BBC coverage which is good if you want to spend 18 hours a day watching sports on TV.

It has cost the UK more than £9bn to host the games, up from an original estimate of £2.4bn. Others estimate a much higher overall cost, but it depends on what you decide to  include as a direct cost. According to a recent article in the Economist the International Olympic Committee claim the following benefits for hosting the games and these are the

  • infrastructure investment
  • international visitors and the money they spend
  • health benefits as Brits are inspired to exercise more often and participate in sports
  • benefit of putting London in the global spotlight

While some of this may be true, £9.4bn has a very high opportunity cost.

Personally I have enjoyed watching the games (especially the Tennis on Sunday afternoon!) and am hoping that the UK will retain its current third position in the medal table. But I am interested to know what you think.

Do the benefits of hosting the Olympics outweigh their costs?