In an earlier post, I wondered what the future would hold for the Olympics with the announcement that both Rome and Hamburg had withdrawn their bids for the 2024 Olympics, citing cost.
Now Budapest – host of this year’s Judo World Championships – has also withdrawn, once again citing cost, especially as they considered they had little chance of winning against the other remaining cities – Los Angeles and Paris.
Bidding for the Olympics can cost host cities several million pounds, let alone the infrastructure costs that follow a successful bid. Many would argue that the cost of Athens hosting the Just About Ready In Time 2004 Games contributed to Greece’s economic collapse.
The Commonwealth Games is also faced with a similar crisis. Only two cities bid for the 2018 Games, Gold Coast (Australia) beating a bid from Hambantota (Sri Lanka). The only city in the running to host 2022 is Durban, in South Africa, following the withdrawal of a bid from Edmonton (Canada). Edmonton is now concentrating on a bid for 2026. The Glasgow Games were reputed to have cost between £500m – £1bn to stage; a phenomenal cost in an age of global austerity.
There is no doubt that hosting such events brings regeneration and investment to host cities – Athens’ transport system, East End regeneration in London, Delhi’s subway system, long term tourist interest – but do these outweigh the costs of bidding and hosting? Have the costs simply become unsustainable, especially in the current economic climate? And lets not even talk about state sponsored cheating, and how the Sochi winter games and even London are now being tarnished.
Having attended the 2004 Games, soaked up the atmosphere, and seen humanity at it’s best, I hope these events have a future; but do have to ask, is a multisport event on a global scale now just too much for any one city to consider hosting?