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Tokyo Olympics cost $15.4 billion. What else could that buy?

12 Comments
By STEPHEN WADE

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An aeroplane costs seven times as much as a hospital? Wow.

As for the cost of the Olympics, surely the obvious solution is to have just one, permanent venue, which for historical reasons should be Athens.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

*The big winner appears to be the Switzerland-based International Olympic Committee, which by holding the Olympics — even without fans — assured broadcast rights income of $3 billion to $4 billion. The IOC is essentially a sports and entertainment business, and almost 75% of its income is from selling broadcast rights with another 18% from sponsors.*

This is basically the Olympics in a nutshell: entertainment. Some will argue, but I would see athletes au par with actors/singers/bands or even oishii-screaming talentness talentos. The entertainment (program) lasts 2 weeks and the pricetag is mindboggling.

At best, selected industry sectors benefit (hospitality, travel, marketing (I look at you Dentsu), etc) but overall and contrary to entertainment on TV which is sponsored by commercial ads, this time the entertainment is sponsored with public money and taxpayers pick up the bill.

I would rather see the money directly used for the community: schools, infrastructures, services, sports facilities, arts, environment, etc.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

“The goal should be that the costs of hosting are matched by benefits that are shared in a way to include ordinary citizens who fund the event through their tax dollars," they wrote. "In the current arrangement, it is often far easier for the athletes to achieve gold than it is for the hosts.”

Even in a 100 percent COVID free Olympics with hordes of foreign spectators, the benefits would have gone to hotel owners, retail and chain restaurant conglomerates and government taxes. The average citizen would have seen at most a few extra shifts of work and a chance to "use English with foreigners".

The Olympics could have bought, at the very least, upgrades to Japan's public internet infrastructure that could have helped with pandemic era telework and online education.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This is basically the Olympics in a nutshell: entertainment. Some will argue, but I would see athletes au par with actors/singers/bands or even oishii-screaming talentness talentos. The entertainment (program) lasts 2 weeks and the pricetag is mindboggling.

At best, selected industry sectors benefit (hospitality, travel, marketing (I look at you Dentsu), etc) but overall and contrary to entertainment on TV which is sponsored by commercial ads, this time the entertainment is sponsored with public money and taxpayers pick up the bill.

I would rather see the money directly used for the community: schools, infrastructures, services, sports facilities, arts, environment, etc.

And how about getting more the 8 billion Earthlings vaccinated? This whole shebang is a superspreader no matter how you hack it. Nobody wins here in the long run. $15.4 B pissed away on something that should've been delayed another year and would've reaped a harvest if PM Suga stood up to the IOC's greed. It's a tragedy.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Imagine how effective an actual social distancing campaign would have been with those funds, paying companies to force them to use teleworking, compensating business so they could actually close during the SoE, preparing people and buying equipment to increase the testing and tracking so clusters could be easily identified and contained, maybe even putting more hospitals in line to deal with the infected people so nobody would have had to die in their houses for lack of space in the hospitals.

I could not even imagine how much reconstruction of Fukushima could have been done with this kind of money either.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Oxford would probably ask for articles mentioning the school to be, at very least, spell-checked before publication.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Any limited benefit flowing to the host country would be achieved at considerably less cost if done without the Olympics. If the income from the media rights were split according to the money spent on holding the shindig would concentrate the IOC’s mind on cost saving. Better yet let them pay for the cost of running it, they keep the income and the host nation rents the facilities to them on a commercial basis so recognising the reality that it is just an entertainment business like a football club, theatre or rock concert.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The 'Olympics' is a highly sought after 'investment' and like all investments other than by those who run the 'house', they are BETS, just gambling. Saying that much of the returns would have gone to 'taxes' is actually 'winning the bet'. Getting hosed, the usual return for the small investor, can happen to even governments who, in 'investments', are NEVER the 'house' but too often the 'mark' but a mark pushed by all of those who pay off the government in one way or another. It also is, apparently, a good way to ensure future visitors who have 'tasted' the culture of the host and find it amenable to further exploration and bring money on their return, the other part of winning the bet. Normally, the 'Olympics' are a relatively 'safe' bet, but the same wind that blew the Mongol invasion fleet into oblivion can blow in ANY direction and, sadly, this time it wasn't as divine as it might have been. Better luck next time? But, I suspect 'next time' for Nihon may be quite far in the future, given that the same wind does not do to all of us what it has done to Japan this time...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

30 billion USD would have put solar panels on 2 million houses.

There are already companies fitting panels on people's roofs for free and then taking the power for ten-fifteen years, which means that model must be commercially viable. If so, the government should be doing it, especially if it is already doing wacky eco schemes, like the floating wind turbine at Fukushima that cost a fortune and was then scrapped.

Two million homes with free electricity in ten years' time will mean two million families with ten to twenty thousand yen a month to spend on something aside from imported energy. An 80,000 yen pension with free electricity and some to sell is the same as a 100,000 yen pension and a bill to pay.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Oxford would probably ask for articles mentioning the school to be, at very least, spell-checked before publication.

Given the 'popularity' of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, perhaps Oxferd would be better offering, as it might, deniability of association...

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

One thing Japan would have bought is a national missile defense.

Japan currently doesn't have a national missile defense(Aegis Ashore is not a proper missile defense), and $20 billion would have bought a decent double layer missile defense that cover major population cities.

With Biden about to announce "No First Use" US nuclear policy, a national missile defense system is even more critical, because the US will act only after a mushroom cloud rises above Tokyo.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

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