South Korea Prepares To Spend $13 Billion On Winter Olympics. Is It Worth It?

The Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium cost roughly $109 million to build for South Korea’s 2018 Winter Olympics and Paralympics. The track will be used usually 4 times before being demolished.

Ahn Young-joon/AP


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The Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium cost roughly $109 million to build for South Korea’s 2018 Winter Olympics and Paralympics. The track will be used usually 4 times before being demolished.

Ahn Young-joon/AP

The code new Olympic track in Pyeongchang, South Korea, will be used usually 4 times before it’s decommissioned after a Winter Olympics and Paralympics. The venue will be used for opening and shutting ceremonies for dual Olympics and afterwards it will be demolished.

The $109 million track is lifting questions about possibly hosting a Olympics is worth a cost for cities that don’t have existent infrastructure to accommodate a event. The Pyeongchang track is one of several new arenas, eventuality spaces and camp structures built for a Olympics, that could cost South Korea scarcely $13 billion.

The Games Are A Great Party, But Not A Great Investment

Despite confidant skeleton to repurpose Olympic buildings, past horde cities, such as Rio de Janeiro and Athens, have been left with vacant, ebbing sports complexes. Organizers in South Korea are planning to demolish some of a new buildings after a games, rather than risk them apropos white elephants, says Judith Grant-Long, an associate highbrow of competition government during a University of Michigan and a co-director of a Michigan Center for Sport and Policy.

“It’s not so surprising to see proxy comforts used in a context of a Olympics, though this moves a needle towards disposable facilities,” she tells Here Now’s Peter O’Dowd. “And we consider a cost of this sold venue during approximately $100 million is unequivocally creation people lay adult and take notice about a costs compared with building venues.”

The region’s medium race is one reason since repurposing a track doesn’t make many mercantile sense. There are usually about 40,000 people in Pyeongchang County, that creates it roughly unfit to frequently fill a new track that seats 35,000.

The Olympic Aquatic Center in Athens sits empty given a 2004 Summer Olympics. Due to Greece’s mercantile frailties post-Olympic Games, there has been no serve investment and a infancy of a newly assembled stadiums now distortion abandoned.

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The Olympic Aquatic Center in Athens sits empty given a 2004 Summer Olympics. Due to Greece’s mercantile frailties post-Olympic Games, there has been no serve investment and a infancy of a newly assembled stadiums now distortion abandoned.

Milos Bicanski/Getty Images

South Korean officials are anticipating a Olympics will boost a area’s race by formulating a new tourism cluster, Grant-Long says. Olympic organizers in Sochi, Russia, had identical goals, though distinct Russians, South Koreans don’t caring many for winter sports. A survey taken final Apr by a South Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism found that usually 35.6 percent of people were meddlesome in a Winter Olympics.

“The other emanate with a success of this sold plan in that plcae is that South Koreans during this indicate in time are not utterly a winter competition people,” Grant-Long says. “So a thought of formulating a tourism plan that’s formed on winter sports, skiing and so forth, has not indispensably been a well-received thought from an mercantile growth indicate of view.”

Financial problems after a Olympics and other general sports events are common. It took Montreal 30 years to compensate off a debts after a 1976 Olympics. The city’s Olympic track was recently transformed into a interloper acquire core for haven seekers entering Canada from a U.S.

Athens spent more than $15 billion to theatre a Summer Games in 2004, adding to a country’s debt and sparking a stream mercantile turmoil. The games did move much-needed growth to a metro system, highways and an airport, though graffiti-covered stadiums sojourn unused.

In Rio, organizers are still staring down $40 million in debt incurred during a 2016 summer games after desirous skeleton to modify arenas into schools collapsed. And a $550 million World Cup track in Brasilia, Brazil, was turned into a train parking lot after a 2015 soccer tournament.

Some remaining tennis courts mount subsequent to a categorical tennis track in Olympic Park in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, final year. Nearly one year after Rio hosted a initial Olympic games in South America, many of a dear venue sites are now shuttered or underused amidst a low mercantile predicament in a city.

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Some remaining tennis courts mount subsequent to a categorical tennis track in Olympic Park in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, final year. Nearly one year after Rio hosted a initial Olympic games in South America, many of a dear venue sites are now shuttered or underused amidst a low mercantile predicament in a city.

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“Most countries finish adult with a lot of debt, a lot of white elephants, and utterly a bit of infrastructure investment that is not ideal for a form of growth needs that a city has,” Andy Zimbalist, a highbrow of economics during Smith College in Northampton, Mass., told NPR in 2014.

Experts contend many cities that confirm to horde a Olympics will confront plateau of debt, generally if they don’t have a infrastructure already. Construction companies mostly expostulate city officials to make aloft bids by presenting some-more elaborate plans.

“If you’re going to classify a games, we have to be prepared for financial surprises – I’ll put it kindly – and debt,” Olympic historian David Wallechinsky told NPR final year. “But it can be done, and it has been done. The London Games didn’t remove money. The 1984 Los Angeles Olympics done a profit, and in fact, that distinction has been put to smashing use.”

What Happens To An Olympic City After The Olympics?

The 1984 Games generated a $225-million surplus, that has been used to support American Olympic efforts and internal girl sports organiztions over a past 3 decades, according to The Los Angeles Times.

At a finish of final year, Paris and Los Angeles were selected to horde a Olympic Games in 2024 and 2028. The International Olympic Committee says a cities were designated since of their skeleton to use a “record-breaking series of existent and proxy facilities.”

Grant-Long says selecting those cities is partial of a IOC’s thought “to figure out what is a tolerable trail forward, and it’s possibly a singular site, a set of permanent sites, or unequivocally recalibrating a games around a many some-more medium idea.”

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