During the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, Holy Cross professor of economics Victor Matheson has been a sought-after expert on the financial costs and benefits of hosting the Olympic Games, providing expert commentary in outlets including NPR, the Los Angeles Times and The Wall Street Journal.
Matheson, a sports economist specializing in “mega-sporting events” who has authored a study on the economic impact of the Olympics on host cities, believes that, in most cases, the Olympics are a money-losing proposition. “Between the security and infrastructure costs for tourism and sports […] you can easily get into the billions of dollars without even batting an eye,” Matheson told the host of NPR’s “1A” Jen White.
Furthermore, Matheson argues that potential hosts should be careful when relying on past Olympics to calculate costs. “Every Olympic Games counts different things differently,” Matheson told The Wall Street Journal. “The lack of transparency in all Olympic Games has created tremendous difficulties.”
But what does this mean for Los Angeles, which is set to host the 2028 Olympic Games, and its estimated $6.9 billion budget? Time will tell, but, according to a recent Los Angeles Times survey, the 2028 Olympics enjoy broad support among Angelenos, despite skepticism about claims that the events will bring significant economic benefits to local communities.
“You have a lot of the excitement about the potential for the Olympics and none of the hassles yet of the construction projects or the actual congestion during the event itself,” said Matheson. “So right now all of this looks great.”
NPR, Feb. 7
Los Angeles Times, Feb. 10
The Wall Street Journal, Feb. 19
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