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Tokyo 2021 games cost a lot: $ 15.4 billion

Tokyo 2021 games cost a lot: $ 15.4 billion

The official price for organizing the Tokyo 2020 Games was $ 15.4 billion, which according to a study by the University of Oxford would be the most expensive in history.

What else could you buy with that amount?

The estimated cost of building a 300-bed hospital in Japan is $ 55 million. So almost 300 of them could have been built.

The average price of a primary school in Japan is about 13 million. For that price, you would have 1,200 schools.

A quick search turns up that a Boeing 747 is valued at around 400 million. So you would have 38 jumbo jets for the cost of an Olympics.

The point is that the Olympics are expensive and could overshadow other priorities. In fact, various government audits ensure that the actual price of the Tokyo Games is even higher than the official figure, even double. Except for $ 6.7 billion, the rest comes from public funds from Japanese taxpayers. According to the most recent budget, the IOC contribution is 1.3 billion. It also brought in an additional several hundred million after the pandemic.

Olympic costs were analyzed by an Oxford University study, which found that all jousts since 1960 have exceeded their budget by an average of 172%. The Tokyo excess is 111% or 244%, depending on which figure is chosen.

“Neither the IOC nor the host cities are interested in tracking costs, because that tends to reveal budget overruns, which have more often become an embarrassment to the IOC and host cities,” said study author Bent Flyvberg. in an email. Flyvberg stressed that costs would be reduced if the IOC contributed a larger amount rather than dedicating itself to opening the organizers’ wallets.

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Keeping track of costs is a tedious exercise, packed with arguments of what does and does not constitute an Olympic expense. Flyvberg explained that the figures for the different Games may not be comparable and require further analysis.

“The problem is to separate what is an Olympic expense from a general infrastructure expense that would have been carried out in the same way, but was accelerated to carry out the fair,” Victor Matheson, who studies sports economics at the Holy Cross University.

For example: The 1964 Tokyo Games, he states, “were one of the cheapest or one of the most expensive depending on how much of the preparation fits within the definition of Olympic spending.”

Beijing 2008, often listed as costing more than $ 40 billion, and the 2014 Sochi Winter Games – priced at $ 51 billion – are often incorrectly highlighted as the most expensive.

“The figures for Beijing and Sochi include higher infrastructure expenditures: roads, trains, airports and so on. Not our numbers, ”Flyvberg said in an email.

The ambiguity around costs – and who pays for them – allows the IOC to offer the Games as a global party promoting peace and unity across the planet. Everyone seems to benefit and the economic interests of the IOC are hidden behind national flags, parades, ceremonies and success stories of athletes winning medals and defeating a pandemic.

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In the case of Tokyo, of course, expenses skyrocketed with the postponement. Authorities say the postponement added $ 2.8 billion to the final total. The postponement and subsequent ban on the presence of fans also wiped out virtually all ticket sales revenue, which was estimated at $ 800 million. That deficit went to the account of the governmental entities of Japan, possibly to the metropolitan government of Tokyo.

Tokyo organizers raised a record $ 3.3 billion from local sponsors, led by Japanese advertising company Dentsu, Inc, but many of the sponsors openly complained before the fair that their investment had been wasted without the presence of fans. Toyota, one of the IOC’s top 15 sponsors, withdrew all its jousting-related advertising from Japanese television due to public discontent over hosting the Olympics amid a pandemic.

The biggest winner appears to have been the International Olympic Committee, which, by organizing the Olympics – even without spectators – secured an income from broadcast rights of between $ 3 billion and $ 4 billion. The Swiss-based IOC is basically a sports and entertainment business with almost 75% of its revenue coming from the sale of broadcast rights and the other 18% from its sponsors.

So why did Tokyo want the Olympics? Why would any city want them? German sports economist Wolfgang Maennig said the Olympics offer minimal economic boost. So the benefit must be elsewhere. He often compares the Olympics to throwing a big party for your friends and overspending, hoping that they will be happy and remember you fondly.

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“After three decades of empirical research, economists agree that the Olympic Games do not generate any significant positive effects on income, employment, tax revenue or national (or even regional) tourism,” gold medalist Maening said in an email. rowing in Seoul 1988.

He assured that the benefits are other, such as the advantage of athletes being in their country and, therefore, more medals for their delegations, new sports facilities, a greater international presence and accelerating redevelopment decisions. Japan’s performance in the tournament is a true reflection of obtaining more gold medals and totals than in any other Olympic participation.

Most of the Olympic benefits go to construction companies and contractors. Tokyo built eight new venues. the two most expensive were the National Stadium, with a price of 1,430 million dollars and the new Aquatic Center, of 520 million. The next two Olympic organizers – Paris in 2024 and Los Angeles in 2028 – say they are drastically reducing the construction of new venues.

Although Tokyo likely suffered short-term economic losses from the pandemic and the absence of fans, any loss is relatively small in a nation with a $ 5 trillion economy. (AP)

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