Bent Flyvbjerg

By Bent Flyvbjerg

Who’s hosting the Olympics? It’s time to do things differently

Mayor of Rome holds up Oxford Olympics Study 2016

The Mayor of Rome, Virginia Raggi uses the Oxford Olympics Study 2016 to oppose 2024 Olympics bid in September 2016.

The International Olympics Committee (IOC) has decided to allocate the next two Summer Olympic Games (probably to LA and Paris) in one go to try and make hosting more attractive. It has been forced to do this, as it is rapidly running out of cities willing to bid, let alone play host to the Summer or Winter Games. This is due to the Games being one of the most costly and risky megaprojects to attempt.

Without exception, all Games suffer significant cost overruns. The recent Rio Games came in at $1.6 billion – 51% more than budgeted and rising. Sochi 2014 was 289%, London 2012 76%. These are colossal overspends on multi-billion-dollar projects. The IOC, led by President Thomas Bach, needs to actively look at other models.

More sustainable alternatives could include awarding the Games to a host city twice in succession or agree a pool of cities (one on each continent) that take it in turns to host. A more radical approach could be to return the Olympics to where it all started – in Greece, hosting them there permanently. This would enable long-term, sustainable investment, and planning.

Now is a good time to look at doing things differently to avoid the multi-billion overspend that no one can really afford.

Read the Oxford Olympics Study

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