Maximizing Heritage and Economic Impact From Hosting Major Sporting Events
(Editor’s Note: Professor Franco B. Ascani is the President of the Federation Internationale Cinema Television Sportifs and a member of the International Olympic Commission for Culture and Olympic Education. The following article is a slightly condensed version of a speech he recently delivered to a conference in Doha, Qatar, on international sport security.)
Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for inviting me to Doha.
The action of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Commission for Culture and Olympic Education, presided by Professor Lambis Nikolaou, towards London 2012 is directed to the promotion of civic education and sports values to realize sustainable Games to protect biodiversity for healthy living.
For example: the educational programme of London 2012 and the 2012 cultural Olympiad inspire themselfes to this premise mobilizing and inviting millions of young people to partecipate in educational activities through the Olympic Games.
Through the new Olympic Solidarity Programmes (Dr. Tommy Sithole), the IOC supports the educational and formative activities of 50 Olympic Committees in view of the Games.
The precious work done by the Commission gave its results in China, where the Olympic Spirit will live forever. Beijing is the symbol of the value and the power of the Olympic Heritage.
The cultural side bound to the Games through the artistic and cultural activities is an integral part of the modern Olympic Games and of that great fest of young people that were the Youth Olympic Games of Singapore 2010 and Innsbruck 2012.
The most important worldwide sports event, which are the Olympic Games, always leave a lasting heritage to the host city and nation.
The return on image, the increasing of sports culture for the hosting country and the additional incomes become GDP for the country. The heritage is positive in 80% of cases, as well the economic impact justifies some budgets of $5, $10 and $15 billion.
The mediatic sensation of the event introduces the city worldwide.
The city changes thanks to the Games giving a boost to tourism, infrastructures, roads, services, environment and volunteers. A positive heritage, even at a social level, that could be taken in advantage for all from the urban, the social, the economical and the political point of view. About 40-50% of the changing factors costitute the material legacy (public works, transportations, Olympic infrastructures) and 15% the human and professional legacy (employment, foreign investments, etc.).
Beijing 2008: A case History About the Legacy and Sports Education
Seven years of works never seen before with tens of billions of dollars of investment that radically changed the Chinese capital.
Ninety-six sports seats were renewed and built.
The Chinese Olympic Games are still going on…through the realization of a long term strategy with an active impact on the territory.
It is fundamental the role of the post-Games activities (400 events), thanks to the excellent action of the BODA (Beijing Olympic City Development Association), the post-Olympic Foundation that yearly organizes the “Beijing Olympic City Sport and Culture Festival.”
Beijing is a qualified and praiseworthy example about the program of activities it offers. In particular for the Program of Olympic Education, before and during the Games, that involved 400 million young people, 260 million of whom were students in schools through the Olympic Movement, the physical and moral education, the charity work and environmental education.
The School Projects in Beijing are an example for 400,000 schools in the entire China and they created a net with the schools of 204 Olympic Countries through 8,000 exchange activities.
The heritage of the Olympic Education produced a strong impact on the Chinese education system, which helped to promote the development of sport for young people with the “Youth Sport Department.”
Beijing studied a five years plan on sport, culture and Olympic education (“The Olympic Sports, Education and Culture activities”) from 2011 to 2015.
Figures of Economic Impact of the Games through Sponsors, TV Rights, Security
The Olympic Games, for example, are a great chance to create work, to build permanent sports centres for the citizens, to create infrastructures, to restore degraded areas (see Seoul and Barcelona), to make a great investment not only for sport but also for the hundreds of thousands of people who live in the host city and for the entire country (see Barcelona and London).
About 70% of the budget on average is spent on infrastructures (see London), even if the costs of new buildings and renovations tend to increase from the starting budget. It’s a fundamental social destination, a cost issue that the country should pay sooner or later because the transports, the road network, the facilities for the population need considerable periodic revisions and modernizations (see 40,000 council houses in London) aside from the Games.
About 20-25% is spent on new sport facilities and renovation of the old ones.
In 7 years, the Olympic projects involved tens of thousands of workers.
The costs of the organization are entirely covered by tickets sale, TV rights and sponsors (50% goes to the Olympic Movement, 50% to the Organizing Committee).
The private investment covers 25-30% of the entire budget.
The top sponsors are an important income issue.
- $279 million for Lillehammer 1994 and Atlanta 1996;
- $886 million for Turin 2006 and Beijing 2008;
- $957 million for Vancouver 2010 and London 2012–a number 3 times higher in 20 years.
The TV rights are the most important income issue: there are 1,200 TV Sports Channels all over the world.
From $88 million for Moscow in 1980 to $1.739 million for Beijing in 2008. That’s a number 20 times higher!
Nearly 51% goes to the Olympic Movement and 49% to the Organizing Committee.
The fundamental role of the “sports image” emerges, an essential instrument to spread the sports values before, during and after the event.
In this context joins the Federation Internationale Cinema Television Sportifs (FICTS), presided by me, with the aim of developing and promoting the “culture through sport” among the 110 member countries and the citizens of various nations with different lifestyles. FICTS inspires itself to the principle “sport, a global movement at humanity’s service” based on universality, tolerance and ethics.
The security costs also are significant, because the Olympic Games have always been the ideal target of international terrorism.
Just in Munich in 1972, I made my first report to document the most dramatic event in Olympic history on Sept. 5, 1972, during which nine athletes, five terrorists, one policeman and one civilian died!
Consequences on the Territory and Population of the Olympic Cities
The cities change themselves (Munich, Los Angeles, Barcelona, Sydney, Turin, Beijing) or pay a high price (Montreal, Athens).
Let’s consider, among the 11 editions I’ve participated in from 1972 until today, some examples of the Olympic Cities.
Munich 1972. The building of a new subway line, the first “promenade” in the world in the city centre and the computerization were revolutionary elements that the population still enjoy.
Montreal 1976. It was probably the worst economic bill of all the Olympic Games and the Montreal population only finished paying off the debts of the Organizing Committee in 2006, or 30 years later.
Los Angeles 1984. It had a completely private management of the Games, generating about $250 million of profit with great marketing. On the economic side, it is considered the best edition of the Olympic Games for two reasons: 1) the full use of private investments 2) the use of the existing sports facilities.
Atlanta 1996. It was an Olympic Games edition for free, built on savings and sponsors.
Barcelona 1992. The Games that changed the city. Lots of buildings created for the event became real touristic attractions. Barcelona ended with a credit balance of $3 million. Barcelona built ring roads and a new airport. As London is doing with the Legacy Company, in the same way Barcelona pre-emptively identified the administrators of the sports facilities after the Games.
Sydney 2000. The “green Games.” A great city and “people-friendly.”
Athens 2004. The Greek economy increased its GDP by 0.3% from 1997 until five years later. The tourism was relaunched and the city was transformed. Now Greece is in a dramatic economic situation: in the public opinion it also could be the Olympic Games’ fault.
Turin 2006. In Italy, the Games had a great positive impact on the urban image of Turin. Today, more than 80% of the population considers Turin a cultural city rather than an industrial city.
London 2012. Transformation of the London East End: an uncomfortable area becomes a district with gardens, offices and accomodations, to which adding the return on image and increasing of tourism.
We saw that the Games will continue even after the Closing Ceremony in the host city and country.
All together, after the Games, we must keep alive the Olympic Flame. We can and we must.
Professor Franco B. Ascani is the International President of FICTS (Fédération Internationale Cinéma Télévision Sportifs) and a member of IOC Commission for “Culture and Olympic Education.”
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