From an online report, “Beijing’s Empty Venues reveal heavy Cost of Olympics”
Post-Olympic financial problems are common for Olympic host cities, particularly for the host of the larger and more expensive Summer Games. Spending billions to host the two-week event, cities almost never make a profit and usually spend years paying off their Olympic-size debt. Furthermore, these cities are often left with unused venues and “white elephant” main stadiums.
Two cities scheduled to host future games are already experiencing financial problems caused by the global recession and overambitious plans. Vancouver, set to host the 2010 Winter Olympics, had its credit rating lowered Friday after it had difficulty receiving funding for the $800-million athletes’ village.
The budget for the 2012 London Olympics has nearly tripled from $4.9 billion to $13.5 billion and it will likely continue to rise. It has had to scale back its plans, as it had has difficulty securing loans for the $1.3-billion athletes village and $500 million media center. The budget for the Olympic Stadium has nearly doubled to $790 million and it appears that the city will be unable to sell the stadium to a soccer or rugby team after the Games.
Tessa Jowell, the British government minister for the Olympics, admitted in November that, in hindsight, the city made a mistake by bidding for the Olympics, according to the Chicago Tribune. “Would we have bid for the Olympics?” she asked. “Almost certainly not.”
Citizens of Chicago – call the Mayor, the Governor and email the President – don’t let Chicago be added to this list of cities who were scammed and later cried when their Olympic bills spiraled out of control.