With the FIFA World Cup at the center of attention around the world, Victor Matheson, professor of economics at the College of the Holy Cross, offers major Canadian news station, CBC News, insight into the economic effects of the tournament. Although the cities and countries hosting these major sporting events often take them on in hopes of reaping the benefits, “the economic benefit is typically zero,” says Matheson. As the events become more and more expensive—the past winter Olympics in Sochi costing $51 billion and the World Cup in Brazil costing $13 billion—the potentially modest gain is “not enough to justify the price tag.”
Some cities and countries have managed positive economic outcomes from these events, like Los Angeles who hosted one of the most economically successful Olympics in 1984, or Barcelona whose tourism greatly increased after their Olympics in 1992. “If you’ve got a city that’s a hidden gem and you spend a bunch of money advertising yourself and then you offer something the world doesn’t know about, it can work,” Matheson explains. However, with the new exorbitant price tag, interest in hosting these events tends to come from places with affluent governments where the threat of local opposition does not exist. Matheson asserts that “once you see people voting with their dollars, maybe the IOC and FIFA have some real incentive to reform the bidding process.”
This is a “Holy Cross in the News” item by Evangelia Stefanakos.
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