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Cost of the Olympic Games, 1960-2021

There are many reasons why one might want to host the Olympics. Brand building is certainly one. Making some kind of profit is another. But the direct economic benefits aren’t always clear. Embedded above are two recent charts from the WSJ outlining 1) the cost of the Olympic Games over the years (the exact numbers are likely debatable) and 2) some of the overruns that host cities have seen. Montreal stands out as an unfortunate outlier with cost overruns exceeding 700%. And Tokyo stands out as being the most expensive games ever. As I understand it, the economics are challenging in the best of times. So one can only imagine what kind of dent the Tokyo Olympics might leave behind.

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