The structural deficit of the Olympics and the World Cup: Comparing costs against revenues over time

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Version: Final published version
License: CC BY 4.0
Serval ID
serval:BIB_8FF5BB9A3A76
Type
Article: article from journal or magazin.
Collection
Publications
Institution
Title
The structural deficit of the Olympics and the World Cup: Comparing costs against revenues over time
Journal
Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space
Author(s)
Müller Martin, Gogishvili David, Wolfe Sven Daniel
ISSN
0308-518X
1472-3409
Publication state
Published
Issued date
31/05/2022
Peer-reviewed
Oui
Volume
6
Number
54
Pages
1200-1218
Language
english
Abstract
The Olympic Games and the Football World Cups are among the most expensive projects in the world. While available theoretical explanations suggest that the revenues of mega-events are overestimated and the costs underestimated, there is no comprehensive empirical study on whether costs exceed revenues. Based on a custom-built database from public sources, this article compares the revenues and costs of the Olympic Games and World Cups between 1964 and 2018 (N = 43), together totalling close to USD 70 billion in revenues and more than USD 120 billion in costs. It finds that costs exceeded revenues in most cases: more than four out of five Olympics and World Cups ran a deficit. The average return-on-investment for an event was negative (– 38%), with mean costs of USD 2.8 billion exceeding mean revenues of USD 1.7 billion per event. The 1976 Summer Olympics in Montréal, the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi and the 2002 World Cup in Japan/South Korea recorded the highest absolute deficits. The Summer Olympics 1984 in Los Angeles, the Winter Olympics 2010 in Vancouver and the 2018 World Cup in Russia are among the few events that posted a surplus. The article concludes that the Olympic Games and the Football World Cup suffer from a structural deficit and could not exist without external subsidies. This finding urges a re-evaluation of these events as loss-making ventures that lack financial sustainability.
Keywords
Environmental Science (miscellaneous), Geography, Planning and Development
Open Access
Yes
Funding(s)
Swiss National Science Foundation / PP00P1_172891
Create date
06/06/2022 18:48
Last modification date
02/08/2022 6:36
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