News / Europe

High Olympics Price Tag Draws Controversy

High Olympics Price Tag Draws Controversyi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
Al Pessin
June 26, 2012 3:54 PM
The upcoming Olympics in London are an expensive operation. The British government’s budget for Olympic construction and operations is officially listed as $15 billion, although some estimates put it much higher. The organizing committee has a separate budget of about $3 billion which will be covered by revenue from ticket sales, sponsorships and other private sources. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London it’s difficult to calculate whether the Games are worth the cost.
The upcoming Olympics in London are an expensive operation.
Al Pessin
LONDON - The upcoming Olympics in London are an expensive operation.  The British government’s budget for Olympic construction and operations is officially listed as $15 billion, although some estimates put it much higher.  The organizing committee has a separate budget of about $3 billion which will be covered by revenue from ticket sales, sponsorships and other private sources.

Grand preparations

The stadiums and arenas of the Olympic Park are impressive, and the Olympics will no doubt be a grand show.  But concerns about the cost linger.

Former British Olympic gold medalist and member of the London organizing committee Jonathan Edwards says people who worry about the cost of the Games are not thinking about the bigger picture.

“When people think of it as a cost, I think they perhaps don’t understand where the money has been gone and how it’s been spent.  Those contracts, 98 percent them, have been won by British businesses," explained Edwards. "So, billions of pounds have been spent in the UK at a time which has been very challenging economically.”

Long-term benefits, but grief for some

Edwards says the Olympics construction and related development in East London will also have long term economic benefits for the city and all of Britain.  Not surprisingly, there is considerable debate about that.

One of the leading anti-Olympics activists is Julian Cheyne, whose apartment building was flattened to make room for the Olympic Park. “The reality is this is a pack of lies, and, actually, the government knows this because back in 2002 it had its own report called Game Plan which warned that it would not produce the benefits which were claimed for it," he said. "A few months later, the government decided to go ahead with the project anyway.  It was always a pack of lies.”

Finding a middle ground

Somewhere between the activist’s accusations and the officials' promises there must be some solid middle ground.  Maybe that is at Bournemouth University’s School of Tourism, where we found Professor Adam Blake.

“It looks like on balance that there’s a big benefit to hosting the Olympics.  There are uncertainties.  And there are things we don’t know about even now," Blake stated. "There are negatives, as part of it.  But there’s a huge amount of money coming into the UK, and that really drives a huge amount of benefits.”

But the professor acknowledges that the biggest potential benefits lie in the future, and therefore carry the greatest uncertainty. "Will London be seen in 10 years’ time with a big Olympic halo effect?  Blake asked. "That’s really a potential really big number that outweighs everything that’s going to happen in two weeks in July and August.”

Executive Colin Grannell of long-time Olympic sponsor Visa believes in the so-called ‘halo effect,’ and says he can see its impact on his millions of customers.

“When they see our brand and the Olympic Games, the Olympic Rings, together we know, in terms of research, that they feel quite empowered by that.  It’s the ‘feel good’ factor.  And then they feel better about Visa, and, over time, they’ll use their Visa card more.  And we can measure that, and we do, and it works,” said Grannell.

But there is no guarantee of a ‘halo effect’ of increased tourism and trade in future years, and many past Olympic cities have not had one.

You May Like

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid