Every few years countries bid for the rights to host one of the future Olympic Games. The bidding competition in the past has been fierce, as each country wants to showcase itself on the world stage as the Olympics’ host. But it appears that this trend is starting to die, with cities starting to pull out of the process after initially entering, due to the extreme financial cost associated with hosting. Boston is the latest city to withdraw from bidding for the summer 2024. For the winning city, the host nation works extra hard and spends billions of dollars to upgrade its facilities, build stadiums and have everything perfect by the time the opening ceremony comes around.

No one can deny there are great benefits to the Olympics; the uniting of the world, the competition, the promotion of sport, but for these positives there are also negatives for the host nation.  It is reported that one of the catalysts of the financial crisis in Greece is the hosting of the 2004 Olympics. Andrew Zimbalist, an Economics professor who has written a book on the subject, recently said to The Wall Street Journal that London spent between $15-20 billion on its Games in 2012, while Russia spent $51 billion hosting the Winter Olympics in Sochi last year, and China spent $40 billion hosting the 2008 Games in Beijing. “Several studies on the economic impact of hosting the Olympics ... do not support the expectation of a positive effect on tourism, trade or foreign investment,” Zimbalast said. “Instead, after the 17-day party is over, experience has shown that the host city can expect facilities that are underutilised, cost millions of dollars yearly to maintain, and take up five to 30 acres each of valuable urban real estate. These are the so-called white elephants that preclude alternate use of the land for years or decades into the future.”

With the current concerns regarding the preparation in Rio, the hosting seeming to almost be too much for a developing country, it really does beg the question, what is the future for the Olympic Games?

What are your thoughts about the financial cost of the Games? What do you propose for the future of the Olympics? How do you feel about the potential that in the distant future there will be no Olympic Games?