Hosting the Winter Olympics is a big undertaking. Construction of new sporting venues, heightened security and road expansions are some of the reasons costs start piling up. Although there are financial plans, many cities end up exceeding their original budget. Sometimes the money spent ends up being a good investment, while other times the costly event harms the economy. Here are some of the most expensive Winter Olympics.
Coming in at 42.58 billion, the Beijing Summer Olympics in 2008 were thought to be outrageously expensive. However, even several weeks before the opening ceremonies, the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia are projected to cost close to 50 billion dollars. Although the Winter Games are generally less expensive than the Summer Olympics, Sochi is breaking the financial mold. Sochi’s original budget was “$12 billion” but factors such as lack of snow, construction and security have inflated the original figure. Furthermore, Time.com says, “Sochi’s 98 events will average out to $520 million” each. Hopefully, Sochi will not be one of the Olympic hosts who have economic woes after the Games are over.
Nagano spent 17.59 billion for the 1998 Winter Olympics. The beautiful Japanese city exceeded its original budget by 56%.” Unfortunately, when the Games were over, the city didn’t reap the benefits of their investments. Furthermore, as a result of the costs, Nagano reportedly experienced a recession. The costs to upkeep some of the venues used for the Olympics put a burden on the city’s finances. Furthermore, the bullet train installed during the Winter Olympics encouraged more day trips to Nagano rather than overnight trips. This negatively impacted business for local hotels.
Vancouver is yet another city that spent a lot of money but its efforts were initially considered to be a bust. Spending an estimated 8.33 billion on the 2010 Winter Games, Vancouver suffered some financial setbacks after the Games were over. This is said to be mostly due to the Olympic Village. To recover some of this debt, the city turned the Village into a residential area (otherwise known as The Village on False Creek or “Millennium Water”) and started selling some of the living spaces. Overall, the “Olympic Village is a mixed-use community, with approximately 1,100 residential units, area parks, and a growing number of retail and service outlets.” Perhaps, as the years go on, the Olympic Village will end up being profitable for Vancouver.
In the end, it’s hard to know whether the millions or billions spent on the Winter Olympics will turn out to be good for the city after the Games are over.
Note: Since the costs of the Winter Olympics are based on “available data” only, the total money spent is only an estimate.
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