In several cases that have been studied in the past, the Olympics are not only an event that can entertained billions of people, but can have an impact on the host cities. This paper reviews the economic and social impacts that the Olympics can have on the host city, either negative or positive such as tourism, cost, hotel occupation, debts, biding process, human rights, and other aspects will be discussed. After combining all the findings together from different academic articles and secondary sources, it was found that hosting the Olympics results more negative impacts than positive impacts for the cities either economically or socially. The paper concludes that even if the host cities have had a chance to improve the self-image, tourism, and other aspects of their cities, the huge cost, the biding process, the human rights violation, the relocation of households, increase prices of rental and goods, and all those negative economic and social impacts are outweighing the benefits.
Back at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, something really odd happens before the opening ceremony of the Summer Olympics. In fact, two days before the big opening, the olympics organizers had lost the key to the Olympics stadium’s opening gate. That’s right , like my roommate does practically all the time, they reported this event in their top 12 bizarre Olympic moments (LeDonne, 2016, Rolling Stone). They had to use bolt cutters to cut the gate open. The Olympics have always been an event that captivates us since the best athletes of each country demonstrate their knowledge in front of the whole world.
This topic is significant because it involves every countries around the world in a short period of time, result a lot of media coverage before during and after the Olympics like we have seen with Sochi 2014 and Rio de Janeiro 2016 and it involves the host cities economic as well as their population. Even if Rio de Janeiro tried to assure safety of their Olympics’ buildings, this shows that hosting the Olympics can caused some issues more important than simply losing keys. In several cases that have been studied in the past, the Olympics are not only an event that can entertained billions of people, but can have an impact on the host cities. What are the impacts of hosting the Olympics for cities?
The key concepts presented in this paper are social impacts, economic impacts, and mega sporting events. Social impact is define as impacts that are affecting self-image of a city, his culture, and his population. (Malfas et al., 2004 , 214) On the other hand, economic impact is define has impacts that are affecting the local economy. (Malfas et al., 2004 , 212 ) Lastly, a mega-sporting is an event that includes specialist world-level international sports like the FIFA or the World Cup as well as world-regional level of these sports. The are mainly multi-sports events like the Olympics and the Commonwealth games. (Malfas et al., 2004 , 211)
The research question will address 2 subfields. The first subfield that this paper will address is economics where aspects such as tourism, cost, debts and job opportunities will be review. Economics is involved in every aspects of the Olympics either if it is before or after it happens. As well as involving the economy of the host city, it also involves his own population and its surroundings which lead to the second social discipline. The second subfield or social sciences discipline that this paper will address is sociology where aspects such as media coverage, self-image and sport participation will be review.
This paper will first discuss the economic benefits linked with hosting the Olympics where tourism, job opportunities, creation of friendly economic relationship, cultural wealth, and hotel occupation will be talked about. Next, the paper explores the economic consequences of hosting such a mega sporting event where the huge cost (infrastructures), prices of goods, economic burden for the population and host cities, hotel occupancy, debts and relocation of households will be explored in depth. It will also explores the social benefits where positive media coverage, self-image improvement, increase in sport participation and attraction of opinion leaders will be discussed. Finally, this paper will last discuss the social consequences where traffic congestion, parking problems, and relocation of homes will be explored in depth.
The Olympics are an event involving several aspects of the economy of the host country. It is an event that generates a lot of money and positive economic aspects including an increase in tourism, lead its population to participate in sports, helps hotel to welcomed more clients and money into their business, help population find and get jobs easily. Advertisings and sponsors were found crucial for the host city’s economy.
As a matter of fact, hosting the Olympics can provide to the host city job opportunities for his population, a worldwide interest in its cultural wealth, attracting more tourists, and opening new friendly relationships with other countries. (Yao, 2010, 5) It was found in past olympics that hotel occupation was a big economic benefit for host cities. In fact, during the Barcelona 2002 Olympics Games, there was an increase of 100% in hotel occupation and increase in the amount of tourists coming from Spain, Europe and any other countries. (Gratton & Preuss, 2008 , 1933)
Because the hotel occupation had increased during this mega-sporting event, researchers have found that the amount of tourists visiting the host country/city has increased as well. Indeed, 36.3% of people during the Calgary Winter Olympics saw an increase in tourism and 34% saw it as an economic benefit. (Ritchie et al., 2009, 145)
As well as providing more tourists and money to hotels, it was found that the unemployment rate in some cities has decreased by half. In fact, the general rate of unemployment during the Barcelona Olympic Games fell from 18.4% to 9.6%. ( Malfas et al., 2004 , 212) Additionally, the money that is invested during the Olympics could help the host city in the future. In fact, $42.5 billion were invested in constructing non-sports infrastructure for the 2014 Olympics in Russia, more than $22.5 billion were invested in constructing roads, airports and rails including almost $11.25 billion on environmental cleanup by Beijing for the 2008 Summer Games (Wills, 2016) . Additionally, “thousands of sponsors, media, athletes and spectators typically visit a host city for six months before and six months after the Olympics, which brings in additional revenue.” (Wills, 2016)
Finally, studies have found that the Olympics have generate economic profits and supported a lot of jobs. In a point of fact, during the Olympic in Los Angeles in 1984, the economic profit that the games had generated was about $2.3 billion and helped support 73 375 jobs. (Blake, 2005, 13) The same phenomenon was seen in Seoul 1988 to Athens 2004. In fact, Seoul 1988 generated $1.6 billion and created 336 000 jobs, Barcelona 1992 caused a direct economic impact of $30 million and an increased in job of 296 640 jobs. (Blake, 2005, 14) Atlanta 1996 also caused an economic impact of $5.1 billion as well as creating 77 026 jobs, Sydney 2000 generated $5.1 billion and produced 156 198 jobs. (Blake, 2005, 14) Athens 2004 also was one of the Olympics that had a positive economic impact on the host city. In fact, the Greek city had an economic impact calculated between US$10.2 billion and US$15. 9 billion and had an employment impact between 300 400 and 445 000 jobs. (Blake, 2005, 15)
Economic benefits are always the aspects that countries and host cities cares about the most because some of the country are not that wealthy to host them. In fact, because they are only looking at the positive benefits financially, they forgot to think about what could go wrong financially talking.
Despite the positive side of hosting the Olympics, it was found that not only cities are making the mistake to look only at the positive side economically, but forgot to look what could go wrong before and after this mega-sporting event. Wealthy countries are also having difficulties according to some researches economically with hosting the Olympics such as the huge cost, the hotel occupancy going down after, unmeet budget as well increasing unemployment in certain countries.
Back in 1995 during the Atlanta Olympics games, it was found that the hotel occupancy had decreased even it had been considered an economic benefit for hosting the Olympics in the past. In fact, during the 1995 Atlanta Olympics, the hotel occupancy fell from 72.9% to 68% despite the presence of the Olympics. (Owen, 2005, 7) Moreover , it was found that hosting mega sporting events such as the Olympics can cause an increase in the price of goods, services, economic and social burden on the local population. The huge cost might outweigh the positives benefit. ( Ritchie et al. 2009, 146 )
Researches on past Olympics have found that host cities have some sort of difficulties to keep up with the debts it had caused. As a matter of fact, Montreal spend 30 years paying back this enormous project. The budgets are never met every year. It always cost more than it was supposed to cost. ( De Oliviera, 2011, 2) Barcelona is also another example of host cities that struggle with the Olympic budget where the overall infrastructure cost for Barcelona 2002 was about $7.5 billion instead of $1.5 billion that the Olympic Committee had planed to use . ( Gratton & Preuss, 2008 ,1933) Moreover, experts also found that Nagano struggled with debts. After the Nagano Olympic Games in 1998, they suffered from severe financial consequences for hosting such a big event. In fact, each taxpayers households had debts of up to £20 000. ( Malfas et al., 2004 , 213)
Hosting such mega sporting events can cause relocation of households, “because of the compulsory purchase of land for clearance and building, and it can also lead to a rise in rents and house prices.” It causes issues for low-income neighbourhood. ( Malfas et al., 2004 , 213) The evolution of the Olympics’ program was also found to have a negative impact on the host cities. From 1980 to 2000, 7 new sports and 80 events were added to the Olympic program which caused less wealthier countries to have an enormous burden because the Olympics became too big. “As a result only wealthier cities can afford to stage an Olympic Games.” ( Cashman, 2002 , 8) Countries like Brazil in 2016 shows that less wealthier countries have extreme difficulties to pay the bills even after getting the knowledge of how hosting such mega-sporting events for the future. Indeed, Rio de Janeiro was already in an emergency state of mind where they don’t have enough money to keep police cars on the road, their universities are on strike for insufficient money found, 500 000 servants have received their salaries late, and the economic and social inequalities became more obvious to the population. The budget was exceeded by $13 billions of what the Olympic Committee had planned to pay( Soares, 2016) The huge cost of such mega-sporting events is not new to anybody. In fact, “These days the summer Games might generate $5-to-6 billion in total revenue (nearly half of which goes to the International Olympic Committee). In contrast, the costs of the games rose to an estimated $16 billion in Athens, $40 billion in Beijing, and reportedly nearly $20 billion in London” ( Zimbalist, 2012)
Also, it as found that maintaining stadiums after these mega-sporting events cost a lot the the host cities. In fact, it cost $30 millions every year to Sydney to maintained their stadium and $10 million to Beijing. (Wills, 2016) Also during the 2002 Sydney Olympic Games, it was found that after the event, the amount of seat went from 110 000 seats to 80 000 seats which resulted an unnecessary expense in the beginning and also because they could not sufficient tenants to keep up with the stadium cost . (Cashman, 2002 , 9)
Even with the job opportunities that the Olympics could create, this job boost was found to not last long enough. In fact, Salt Lake City only saw their job rate increased by only by 7000 jobs which is 10% of what they had expected. (Wills, 2016) In addition, the unemployment rate in Sydney had increased up to 23%, which means that it was at 38%. (Malfas et al., 2004 , 213) During the same Olympics in Sydney, the prices of houses had increased by 7% of their actual prices, in comparison with the actual 2%. (Malfas et al., 2004 , 213) Finally, the biding process is high in cost for the cities that are trying to get the Olympics. As a matter of fact, Chicago spent over $100 million in his lost battle to get this mega-sporting event.( Zimbalist, 2012)
In other words, the positives and negatives economic impacts are not always considered equally when it’s time to make a decision on whether they will host the Olympics or not. Moreover, not only the economy is influenced by this mega-sporting event, the social aspect is also affected positively and negatively.
The Olympics is not only an economic event that all countries are concerned about, it is also an event that includes the host country population and its environment. Because of the Olympics, people tend according to several researches to participate more in different sports, receiving positive comments from the media, and being able to increase their personal image.
In fact, hosting the Olympics is beneficial to improve your city image. It helps governance reform, positive media coverage, attraction opinion leaders and improve their city’s image. ( Avraham, 2014 , 71) Moreover, it was found in past studies that hosting the Olympics could increased the rate of sport participation in his population. As a matter of fact, there was an increased of 46 000 news users of the host city’s sport centre after the 1992 Olympic Games. The participation of women went from 36% in 1989 to 45% in 1995 in Barcelona. ( Malfas et al, 2004 , 214) As well as increasing the sports’ participation rate, it was found that the Olympics could provide better sports facilities and urban infrastructures for his population. (Cashman, 2002 , 7) In conjunction with sport participation, it was found that an increased in sport participation could help provides a sense of well-being, self-fulfilment and achievement, encourages social interaction and cohesion between people. (Malfas et al., 2004, 214)
In addition, the Olympics provides a positive media coverage according to experts. Indeed, 60.2% of the London population believed that the 2012 games were portrayed positively by the media, 22.6% neutral, and 5% negatively. (Ritchie et al., 2009, 163) Likewise, the ranking of a city can also increased due to hosting the Olympics. In point of fact, Barcelona increased his ranking among other Europeans countries during the 2002 Summer games. “Barcelona’s use of the games as a city marketing factor is generally regarded as a huge success. This is evidenced by Barcelona’s rise in ranking in the European Cities Monitor from 11th in 1990 to 6th in 2002.” (Gratton & Preuss, 2008 ,1933) Hosting the Olympics can also creates opportunities for new sporting facilities which could improve the physical environment go the host city. (Malfas et al., 2004, 214)
Even if the economic aspect is always the one that people tend to look at because it is considered more important, the social aspect of hosting the Olympics is as important as the economic aspects. Moreover, there are not only positive sides socially talking with hosting the Olympics. In fact, the construction of buildings and the exorbitant amount of people walking in the host city can have negative social impacts on the host.
The social aspects of the host country of the Olympic Games may include such things as tourism, street traffic and its population. on the other hand, these aspects can be negatively affected by the traffic generated by the exorbitant number of people walking in the host city as well as reducing the available parking capacity. Because the city needs space to build their infrastructure, some citizens will have no choice but to relocate by force.
Hosting the Olympic can cause traffic congestion and parking problems during the construction of the Olympics facilities which could seriously affect the quality of life of local residents. ( Ritchie et al., 2009, 146) Such sporting events can also increase the crime rate due to an influx of people and migrant workers , the pressure linked with security concerns could place a critical strain on law enforcements, could create conflicts between tourisms and over access to recreational spaces. (Ritchie et al., 2009, 146) These were problems were also found during the 1996 Olympics games in Atlanta where media exposure was not positive at all. In fact, there was traffic congestion, administrative problems, security breaches and over-commercialization. Atlanta did not received the kind of media attention they wanted. (Owen, 2005, 9)
Additionally, because of the construction of infrastructures, people had to leave their house and sometimes away from their families and friends. Indeed, during the construction of infrastructures for Beijing 2008 Olympics, 1.5 million people were evicted from their homes as well as seeing their neighbourhood destroyed. People had to move far away from friends, family and work. ( Clift & Manley, 2017) Moreover, the same phenomenon happened during the Atlanta Olympics games in 1996. Indeed, 15 000 residents were evicted from their houses to make room for Olympics accommodation. (Malfas et al., 2004 , 213)
Atlanta 1996 did suffered with more than one social consequences due to the host of the Olympics. The poverty issue had increased to 30% of the population who lived below the poverty line as well as losing public funds of about $350 million from low income housing, social services, and other services towards homeless and poor people.. (Malfas et al., 2004 , 213) Along with this, homeless shelters were transformed in backpacking accommodation for tourists during the Atlanta 1996 Olympics games. (Malfas et al., 2004, 213) Finally, researches on past Olympics have found that there were violations of humans rights during some of them. In fact, there were repressive measures in China in 2008, violations of the LGBT rights in 2014 before and during Sochi 2014 where persistent human rights issues are seen in these mega-sporting events, which results the Olympics to signify oppression and exclusion . ( Clift & Manley, 2017)
To summarize everything that have been talked about in this paper, host cities need to take in consideration both the economic and social aspect of hosting the Olympics because the findings suggests that it is the major mistake of every host city every year. The positive side of this event is always looked up whereas the negative side is not taking into consideration in the decision making process.
This paper has explores many aspects related to the economic and social impacts of hosting the Olympics for host cities. The findings suggests that the Olympics does results more economic and social negative impacts than positive impacts for the host cities. Even if the host cities have had a chance to improve the self-image, tourism, and other aspects of their cities, the huge cost, the biding process, the human rights violation, the relocation of households, increase prices of rental and goods, and all those negative economic and social impacts are outweighing the benefits. Spending billions of dollars on stadiums and sports facilities, and not being able to get the same amount that was originally invested, is not a winning game. On the contrary, the results show that there are not great economic and social benefits with hosting the Olympics . A recommendation for areas of future researches would be to evaluate more the opinions of people in the host cities about how they feel about getting evicted, how does it affect their family, how they feel about their human rights being violated and why do they not tried to stop their city/country from hosting such an high cost mega-sporting event. By asking for the opinion of his population, the host cities or future host cities could have a great idea how they feel about their city spending a lot of money on such an event and also could prevent some social negative impacts to happens or intensify. Furthermore, it would be a good idea to look more in depth about the social aspects linked to the traffic congestion and parking problems because they were not a lot of information about those issues linked to the Olympics. Lastly, the last recommendation for future areas of researches would be to found a way were host cities could outbalanced the economic and social consequences related to the Olympics. By finding ways and strategies that could help the less wealthy cities to be allowed to host this prestigious mega-sporting, it would not only allow them to remove the economic burden, but could help those countries and cities to improve their economic and social aspects. If all this research were only to come true, perhaps major changes could be made to allow the host cities and its population to fully enjoy the Olympics Games.
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