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Rio Olympics Legacy: Big Costs, Big Debt

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The Rio 2016 Olympic Games closing ceremony. By Agência Brasil Fotografias - Terminam os Jogos Olímpicos Rio 2016,

The 2016 Rio Olympics are not done yet, not by a long shot, and that has to concern the people in Paris and Los Angeles who want the 2024 Olympics along with the International Olympic Committee.

The Rio Olympics cost $13.1 billion. Rio’s Olympic Committee had money problems since day one. Prior to the closing ceremonies that ended the Olympics, Brazilian officials cobbled together a private-public funding plan for the Paralympics in a stripped-down event.

Some of Olympics vendors may never see any money and may be forced to barter. They might accept used items, such as air conditioners and electrical equipment from the Rio Olympic committee. Rio de Janeiro could not pay teachers, hospital workers, and pensions on time and had record-breaking crime in 2016 because it had to pay for Olympics infrastructure.

Last summer in Rio, IOC President Thomas Bach said, “There is no public money in the organization of this Olympic Games. The budget of the Olympic organizing committee is privately financed; there is no public funding for this.”

Bach was wrong, billions of dollars went into various projects that were mandated by Bach’s International Olympic Committee. Bach’s claim local taxpayers were not on the hook was not very believable. Bach knows many areas have said no to hosting the Olympics because it costs taxpayers far too much money to hold the event.

Things were so bad in the bidding for the 2022 Winter Games and the 2024 Games that only two nations wanted either of those Games. The South Korean government is making up a $500 million shortfall to get the facilities ready for the 2018 Games.

The IOC often confuses sports with urban planning. Rio is much better off because of improved infrastructure built for the Games. But someone paid for that and it wasn’t the IOC, it was taxpayers. The Games didn’t help Rio very much.

By Evan Weiner For The Politics Of Sports Business

This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, Evan Weiner.

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