Today – Friday 23rd July 2021 – the 2020 Olympic Games opening ceremony will take place in Tokyo, Japan. Postponed for one year because of a so-called global outbreak, a ‘pandemic’ no less. I remember writing about it, way back in March 2020, when I suggested that cancelling the games in August of that year would be “an unprecedented move” (you can read that post by clicking here.) Yet it happened. Some events (or should I say non-events) have already started.
A Year Later… The Games Begin
The games were rescheduled for this year and all set to be a great welcome back for international sport. Then further outbreaks of “new variants” of coronavirus happened – if you are to believe the politicians and media that is. In any case the Games are still going ahead but there will be no crowds. Zero people! That’s no paying customers! Let that sink in for a minute…
So who is paying for it all? The amount of money that the city of Tokyo (and Japan as a whole) would have spent will not be recuperated through ticket sales and souvenir sales etc…It is not just the cost of winning and setting up everything for the Games. This time the costs just continued to go up as they had to reschedule and of course now have to quarantine the athletes and media. (Oh yes, sorry. I forgot to say that representatives of multiple media outlets across the world will be there to watch the sport. Just not you or I, or any other tourists.) The organisers also have to continually monitor and test everyone. That won’t be free either.
What’s more, far fewer people will tune in to watch stale events with no crowds. That will probably affect the advertising revenue. It is as if there is a money tree in the centre of Tokyo and suddenly money is unimportant. Amazing eh?
This is the first Olympic Games my son will be able to remember and he has already talked about it. But will it be worth watching? Probably not.
While I can recall bits from the 1972 Games in Munich, the first Games I can fully remember was the Montreal Olympics in 1976. I also remember how much of a financial disaster those games were for Montreal. The city not only failed to recover the spending costs, it infamously lost a lot of money. I would expect Tokyo to lose far more money that Montreal. Even the London games in 2012, where all events were a complete sell-out, actually lost money!
The cost overrun for Montreal 1976 is the highest cost overrun on record for any Olympics $1.5 billion, a 720% overrun. It took 30 years to repay and almost broke the city. The cost overrun for Montreal compares with a cost overrun of 51% for Rio 2016 and 76% for London 2012.
Seriously: If you are going to have the Games then let people pay to watch. Otherwise what’s the point?
Brisbane 2032. What a Joke!
Now usually different cities in different countries fight for the right to host this illustrious sporting event. Before a new games begins the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announce who has won the “bid” to host a future Olympic Games. This time around the “bid” was for the 2032 Games. And the city of Brisbane in the state of Queensland, Australia, won that bid. But it wasn’t a normal process this time. Brisbane was the only city in the ‘race’. Something to do with making the real decisions way back in February when there were other cities (supposedly) in contention. But who really cares?
This one almost slipped under the radar even here in Australia. There was a TV show on celebrating the “win” last night but I couldn’t bring myself to watch it. I am sure it was one of those hard to watch programmes, if not vomit inducing.
Forget the fact that the state of Queensland is not allowing people in or out – even from down the road in New South Wales – without all kinds of paperwork, tests etc… Now they think they can open their doors to the whole planet? Or are they planning to operate with no spectators? I know it is nine years away but when the country can’t even host a Formula One or MotoGP race this year then it just seems pathetic.
So now the city of Brisbane is saddled with hosting an extremely expensive sporting event that possibly nobody will turn up to watch. That nine years may seem a very long way off but if the past 18 months has taught us anything it is that things may never be the same again. At least the way things are going now – which in Australia is backwards!
They may never recoup even a fraction of the amount the city will need to spend. But that didn’t stop those involved putting Brisbane forward as a candidate. With all the rubbish that is going on right now! Would you say that was optimistic? Possibly it is. But where is their optimism now when the people of Australia need it? Nowhere to be seen sadly.
It is more like: ‘Hey Brisbane (and other cities in Australia)! Close down your businesses while we make out how bad this “new virus variant” is. Don’t worry if your business goes bust. We have just “won” an Olympic Games. Hoorah!’
Is it just me or does all this seem like something out of The Twilight Zone?
Now, click below…