How Much Does it Cost to Host the Olympics?
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How Much Does it Cost to Host the Olympics?

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How Much Does it Cost to Host the Olympics?

The Briefing

  • The cost of hosting the Olympics varies drastically, depending on a host city’s infrastructure and existing sports facilities
  • The Sochi games in 2014 were the most expensive, costing nearly $60 billion
  • Cities take on these astronomical costs in the hopes that these new developments (railways, upgraded roads, airports, etc.) benefit the city long-term

How Much Does it Cost to Host the Olympics?

The scope of the Olympics has scaled up drastically.

Over a century ago, the first modern games had approximately 280 athletes competing from 12 different countries—these days, more than 10,000 athletes from 200+ countries participate in this prestigious athletic event.

As the games have increased in scope and size, so too has the cost of putting them on.

How much does it cost to host the Olympic games? Over the years, the final price tag has varied greatly from city to city. Here’s a look at the estimated cost of hosting the games (both summer and winter) since 1998.

Estimated Cost of Hosting the Olympics, by City

A major expense for a host city is building out infrastructure to support the tourism and traffic generated by the games.

For instance, when Sochi hosted the Winter Olympics in 2014, the city spent roughly $50.7 billion on non-sports-related infrastructure—approximately 85% of its total budget.

YearCityTypeEst. Cost (adjusted for inflation)
1998Nagano 🇯🇵Winter$17.9B
2000Sydney 🇦🇺Summer$8.1B
2002Salt Lake City 🇺🇸Winter$2.9B
2004Athens 🇬🇷Summer$18.7B
2006Turin 🇮🇹Winter$5.3B
2008Bejing 🇨🇳Summer$52.7B
2010Vancouver 🇨🇦Winter$8.9B
2012London 🇬🇧Summer$13.3B
2014Sochi 🇷🇺Winter$59.7B
2016Rio de Janeiro 🇧🇷Summer$13.0B
2018Pyeongchang 🇰🇷Winter$15.4B
2020Tokyo 🇯🇵Summer$35.0B

Of course, the hope is that non-sports-related infrastructure will benefit the host city long-term, which is how countries rationalize the cost.

But sports-related facilities also cost a fortune to build, and are often not utilized once the games are over. For instance, Beijing’s national stadium cost $460 million to build initially, with millions needed to maintain it each year. The facility has barely been used in the years following the 2008 games.

That said, it is worth noting that Beijing plans on using the national stadium for the Opening and Closing ceremonies when they host the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Where does this data come from?

Source: Robert Baade and Victor Matheson, “Going for the Gold: The Economics of the Olympics”; Andrew Zimbalist, Circus Maximus; Marketplace; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics via Council on Foreign Relations
Details: Estimated costs have been adjusted to account for inflation. Estimates include infrastructure costs, as well as other indirect spending and sports-related expenses.

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Super-Sized Bets for Football’s Big Game (2013-2022)

Expanding legalization has driven an increase in bets on football’s big game, with wagers more than doubling from 2021 to 2022. (Sponsored Content)

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Dollar value of bets for football's big game shown over the last ten years using footballs. The football is much bigger in 2022 to indicate that bets doubled from 2021 to 2022.

The Briefing

  • Sports betting became legal outside Nevada when the federal ban was lifted in 2018.
  • Legalization contributed to betting growth, with wagers on football’s big game increasing ten-fold over the last decade.

Super-Sized Bets for Football’s Big Game

With 99 million viewers in 2022, “more Americans tune in to the Super Bowl than any other television broadcast.” Its large viewership, combined with expanding legislation, has led to ballooning wagers.

In this graphic sponsored by Roundhill Investments, we show how these bets have grown over the last 10 years.

Annual Legal Bets on the Big Game

From 2013 through 2018, sports betting was only legal in Nevada and year-over-year growth was low. However, when the federal sports betting ban was lifted in May 2018, more states started allowing bets.

By 2022, 33 states plus Washington, DC were legally able to bet on the game. Wagers climbed quickly as a result.

YearTotal BetsAnnual Growth
2013$99M5%
2014$119M21%
2015$116M-3%
2016$133M14%
2017$138M4%
2018$159M15%
2019$191M20%
2020$280M47%
2021$486M73%
2022$1.1B119%

Data only for states that report bets on football’s big game, see graphic for full list of states included in 2022.

Impressively, legal bets surpassed the $1 billion mark in 2022. Growth was primarily driven by New York State legalizing online sports betting, with the state contributing nearly $500 million to the total.

Since the New York State Gaming Commission does not report event-specific totals, we have estimated this amount based on sports bets made the week leading up to and including the date of the big game.

Investment Exposure to an Emerging Industry

Due to legalization, bets on football’s big game have grown 10 times larger over the last decade. A further shift away from bookies and toward legal operators appears to be likely. In September 2022, 89% of Americans said it was important to bet with a legal operator this NFL season, up from 76% in February 2022.

For legal operators, this could translate into revenue opportunities. Companies that take legal bets reported more than $62 million in revenue from the big game alone in 2022, a 37% jump from the prior year.

Looking for exposure to the growing sports betting industry? Explore Roundhill’s sports betting ETF, $BETZ.

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