The Illusory Economic Gains from Hosting the Olympics & World Cup
Published: March 2015
The IOC's Olympic Games and FIFA's World Cup are the two most popular global sporting events. Winning the rights to host these competitions comes with great fanfare. Yet except under special circumstances, the scholarly evidence suggests that hosting either event is no economic bargain for the host city or country. Short-run costs for venue construction and operations invariably exceed Games-related revenues by billions of dollars and long-term gains are elusive. The bidding process to host is structured such that a monopolist auctions off the rights to a world of competitors. The top bidder is likely to experience a winner's curse.