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The Illusory Economic Gains from Hosting the Olympics World Cup


  • Andrew Zimbalist


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.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew Zimbalist, 2015. "The Illusory Economic Gains from Hosting the Olympics World Cup," World Economics, World Economics, 1 Ivory Square, Plantation Wharf, London, United Kingdom, SW11 3UE, vol. 16(1), pages 35-42, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:wej:wldecn:606

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    Blog mentions

    As found by, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Hosting The Olympics Is A Terrible Investment
      by Clay Dillow in FiveThirtyEight Economics on 2016-08-15 20:35:38
    2. Olympics and investment: Updated research roundup
      by ? in Journalist's Resource on 2014-02-06 08:54:51
    3. "Hosting The Olympics Is A Terrible Investment"
      by John Whitehead in Environmental Economics on 2016-08-18 20:30:49
    4. "Hosting The Olympics Is A Terrible Investment"
      by ? in Environmental Economics on 2016-08-19 00:30:00
    5. 5 Cities That Won't Be Hosting the 2024 Olympics, and Why That Makes Them Winners
      by Ed Krayewski in Hit & Run blog on 2017-07-15 01:00:00
    6. How bad an investment are the Olympic Games for host cities?
      by ? in Big Think on 2018-01-30 21:21:00

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