ABSTRACT

Objective cost-benefit analysis of hosting the Games remains at a rudimentary stage, with few accurate or comprehensive studies and little comparative data. In one of the most comprehensive analysis, economists Robert Baade and Victor Matheson looked at costs and benefits associated with Olympic Games, both Summer and Winter, from 1972 to 2002. On the cost side, they included three major categories: general infrastructure, such as transportation; specific sports infrastructure required for competition venues; and operational costs, including general administration, the opening and closing ceremony, and security. They identified three major categories of benefits: the short-run benefits of tourist spending during the Games; the long-run benefits or the 'Olympic legacy,' and intangible benefits. The economic costs of hosting the Olympics far outpace the benefits. The economic and political elites of a city benefit most and so they want to host the Games, privatize the benefits, and offload the cost to the public.