The Olympic Games have clearly lost the luster they once had.
Of the five cities receiving bids for the 2024 Summer Olympics, Hamburg (Germany) and Rome have already withdrawn, with Rome withdrawing as recently as Tuesday. That leaves Los Angeles, Paris and Budapest (Hungary).
The bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics was awarded to Beijing, after both Stockholm and Krakow (Poland) withdrew their bids.
So why the reluctance?
Budgetary concerns remain the primary deterrent. Security costs alone can rack up to billions of dollars, not to mention the time and money that goes into planning the games and constructing massive infrastructure projects, including thousands of hotel rooms to accommodate athletes and guests.
The return, according to many major economists, doesn’t nearly offset the cost.
“The games overrun with 100% consistency. No other type of mega project is this consistent regarding cost overrun,” researchers from Oxford’s Saïd Business School wrote in an academic paper in 2013. “Other project types are typically on budget from time to time, but not the Olympics.”
Public funding for the Olympics seems to be a model of the past, with Los Angeles relying on privatized financing and using existing sports stadiums as venues in its proposal to the International Olympic Committee.
With this model, the California city would actually make a profit.