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

Sunni-Shi’ite Divide Threatens Middle East Stability

Analysts say ancient dispute that traces back to Islamic Revolution is fueling modern day unrest More

Shifting Demographics Lie Beneath Racial Tensions in Ferguson

As Missouri suburb morphed from majority white to majority black, observers say power structure remained static More

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Restriction is toughest since Soviet era, though critics reject move as patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws 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.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid