Delegate Name: Abbie Wong
Mitigating Negative Impacts on Host Cities
Saginaw Arts and Sciences Academy
More countries have turned away from hosting the Olympic games. Hosting the games is expensive and tedious, and more often than not the costs outweigh the benefits. The IOC has struggled with capable countries withdrawing their bid to host the games. The sheer quantity of athletes and events the country has to accommodate piles on to the costs.
Past Olympic events such as the 2008 Beijing Summer Games cost China over $45 billion, and the 2016 Rio Summer Games which cost the Brazilian government at least $13 billion. The revenue the host country makes back doesn’t break even with what they spent. For example, the 2016 Summer Games in Rio made $9 billion, but they spent $13 billion, and the IOC kept most of the revenue. So Brazil took a major economic loss. Increases in economic activity, if any, come from increased tourism during the event, which could be used to justify the cost of hosting the games.
The facilities needed to accommodate tens of thousands of athletes is also a reason why so many countries have turned away from hosting the Olympics. The specific sports facilities needed for niche sports such as high dive or curling have very limited use. After the games are over, the area is left with “unuseable” facilities. If host cities cannot repurpose these spaces then that only adds to the potential costs of hosting. Other non-sport related spaces such as hotels are also a necessity. Hotels house not only the athletes but tourists that flock to see the games. The country has to account for everything, even road repairs. The recent 2020 Tokyo Olympics was met with even more financial demands with the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic created. The additional expenses of safety measures totaled to about $3 billion, and with the travel restrictions no foreign tourists were allowed to attend.
It’s imperative that the IOC revises the process of hosting the Olympic Games if we want to continue this global event. First of all, the bidding process and costs make countries compete against each other. The winner not only has to show they can manage the games, but they have to be capable of providing everything the event needs. Next, buffers to help support the negative impacts on the host country should be implemented. Such buffers would, instead of constructing new stadiums and hotels, renovate and make use of existing facilities. Or the IOC could have a “trust fund” system to reimburse the host country to an extent.
Matheson, Victor, and Andrew Zimbalist. “Why Cities No Longer Clamor to Host the Olympic Games.” Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, 19 Apr. 2021, https://gjia.georgetown.edu/2021/04/19/why-cities-no-longer-clamor-to-host-the-olympic-games/.
Sunderlin. “Topic: Mitigating Negative Impacts on Host Cities.” GLICA.org, GLICA, 1 Jan. 2023, https://glica.org/glica-conferences/simun-2023-conference/simun-2023-committees/wellbeing-of-olympic-athletes/.