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Olympic Games Benefits and Costs Essay (Article)

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Updated: Mar 19th, 2020

London 2012 Olympic Games

In the run-up to the historic London Olympic Games in 2012, the organizing committee encountered great challenges in the mechanisms of selling out the eight million tickets equitably among the twenty-six events in the games. The main objective of such mechanisms looked forward to maximizing the sales of the tickets without compromising the ability of the fans to enjoy watching the games (Bertini and Gourville A4).

It brings in a more collaborative and customer-oriented service provision with the argument that an increased number of fans come will increase the need for services in other areas, for example, in the hotel and food industry.

The committee developed a customer-oriented ticketing system to increase sales of tickets at affordable prices while achieving the revenue target. Similarly, the event became the first in history to introduce no free-ticket policy. This aimed at reducing the fan craze in free events, thus increasing the rates of pleasure in watching different sports. Bundling of the ticket plays an important role in the equitable distribution of fans across all the events.

However, the secondary sports often draw few fans with the primary event drawing excess. In order to curb this, the organizing committee abolished the ticket bundling system and introduced ticket tiers in all the events. These factors coupled with adequate transparency and the premiums on flexibility ensured that the London Olympic Games was prosperous (Bertini and Gourville A4).

Sochi Games, Russia

In many cases, corruption and lack of transparency appear when the hosting committees fail to give out the exact cost of the event. In Russia for example, the expected cost of hosting the games remains subject of debate as months before the event. Several critics of the government argue that a lot of taxpayer’s money is up for grabs if the spending on preparation remains unchecked (Myers n. pag).

Aleksei Navalny, an anti-corruption blogger in Russia leads the assault of the organizing committees and the entire government as hoodwinking the public on the real cost of hosting the games. He claims, the Russians remain in darkness over the real cost of the games. According to him, the cost of twelve billion US dollars quoted by Vladimir Putin is far below the real cost of the games.

In his argument, he believes the Russians stand to gain nothing if the corruption issues in the preparation are not checked (Myers n. pag). To the fierce anti-corruption blogger, the development of Sochi project, the home ground of the Olympic Games, is more of an initiative developed by the ruling class led by Vladimir Putin to cement a legacy rather than hosting the international games.

In as much as the Olympic Games remain famous and continue to draw income to several individuals across the entire globe, the organization of the event after every four years often draw mixed reactions. Fans and athletes often look forward to the event.

Hosting cities expect a lot of revenue from the event. However, if the preparation and execution of the plans developed by the planning committees remain unchecked, the Olympic Games offer an avenue for mass corruption and misuse of public resources.

Infrastructural Development

Apart from the sports facilities such as stadia and training camps, Olympic Games come with the development of general infrastructures such as roads, ports, railways, communication systems and other public utilities. In Beijing 2008 for example, the amount of investment directed towards infrastructure development totaled to forty billion US dollars.

These funds helped in the improvement of movement of athletes, fans and the tourists who visited the country during the games (Liu, Ramchandani, and Wilson 43). The Bird’s Nest and the roads currently stand out in the Beijing City five years after the games.

International Reputation of the City

Major sporting events play a vital role in positioning the public image of a hosting city, region, and country. The global exposure of the event enables the hosting city to reach a global audience in city marketing especially in cultural tourism. During the 2000 Sydney Games, 3.6 billion viewers watched the games. This numbers increased to 3.9 billion in the 2004 Athens Games and further to 4.7 billion in the 2008 Beijing Games.

With this kind of audience, the hosting city gets and ample avenue for marketing tourist sites, culture and other attractive facilities that can earn her more revenue even after the games.

Apart from the television viewers, the internet live streaming of the games also play an important role in the advertisement in the city’s unique features. For example, the Beijing games played a wonderful role in depicting Beijing City and China as a friendly, open, and efficient nation in service delivery (Liu et al. 47).

Development of International Network and Cooperation

According to Jarvie, close co-operation between sporting agencies, federations, and planning committees is necessary both at the local level and at the international level in order to host an international sporting event (348). Such co-operation and international friendliness play vital roles in the economic development of the cities.

Networks created in the preparation and hosting of the games often attract international investors into the host cities, thus improving the economy of such cities (Jarvie 349). For instance, the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics drew attendance for more than fifty heads of state. Such presence creates a picture of an internationally accepted country, which investors would enjoy taking risks in.

This, in turn, boosts the economy of the hosting nation. Organization of global sports helps create great international and trade ties between the host nation and the entire world. This plays an important role in economic development.

Organizing committees of every Olympic Game aim at hosting the games with the best audience across the entire globe. In order to do this, the different committees often come up with different mechanisms of promoting the games, as well as maximizing the revenues accrued.

The ticketing system has been one of the best revenue generators on the games. However, tourists, fans, and volunteers experience gross problems if the ticketing mechanism is poorly organized. Ticket pricing in the Olympic Games plays an important role in the revenue collection from the games, and if poorly managed, can be a source of turmoil to the organizing committees (Liu et al. 38).

For this reason, proper management of the ticketing system is necessary to ensure that the cost of hosting the games remain less than the revenue accrued from them. It is for this reason that different organizing committees develop different mechanisms in attracting the greatest level of a fan base to boost the level of revenues accrued from the sports.

If the entire planning system is devoid of corruption and shoddy deals, the cost of hosting the Olympic Games is far much below the revenues that come with the games. The economic benefits of hosting the games are many ranging from the boom in the business sector, creating short-term employment opportunities, development of infrastructure among others.

Apart from those, the enjoyment of the games by both the fans and the athletes lives a legacy that plays an important role in the future of the hosting city. For example, the Bird’s Nest of Beijing 2008 remains an eye-catching development that came up through the Olympic Games.

In the works of Liu et al., the potential long-lasting economic benefits of hosting the Olympic Games include the construction of new infrastructure and public utilities, the revival of cities in preparation for hosting the global event, and enhancement in international reputation that comes with a global view of the games (40).

Similarly, the tourism sector often gets a global advertising audience thus earns more visitors. With the expected high numbers of people in the cities, the long-term inward investments in the city often increase.


The economic benefits of hosting the Olympic Games lie on the development of the facilities, infrastructure for the service provision and the development of viable mechanisms of attracting more revenue from the influx of tourists, fans, and athletes. Infrastructure development boosts the construction sector with several employment opportunities.

Developing proper measures to ensure adequate transparency from bidding, preparation through to hosting, the benefits of hosting Olympic Games are higher than the costs involved.

Even though such gatherings are potential targets for terrorist activities, the global security team and the host nation can put up necessary security strategies to curb such incidences. The long-term benefits of stadia construction and sports facilities for scratch, as well as the improvement of transports facilities, play a significant role in the development of the economy of the host city.

Works Cited

Bertini, Marco, and John T. Gourville. “Pricing Lessons from the London Olympics.” Harvard Business Review 19 June 2012: A4. Harvard Business Review. Web. 25 Feb. 2014.

Jarvie, Grant. Sport, Culture and Society: An Introduction. 2nd ed. Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, 2012. Print.

Liu, Dongfeng, Girish Ramchandani, and Darryl Wilson. The Global Economics of Sport. London: Routledge, 2012. Print.

Myers, Steven Lee. “Russians Debate Sticker Price of Sochi Games.” The New York Times 27 Jan. 2014: n. pag. The New York Times. Web. 25 Feb. 2014.

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