Mega sporting events are not good business—they just don’t pay for themselves. And the organizers of these events never get their economic projections right. It’s a pattern that has repeated itself so many times that it might as well be fact.
It took Montreal at least 30 years to pay for the $1 billion in debt that it incurred for the 1976 Olympics. Now the 2004 Athens Olympics is being blamed for the financial mess Greece finds itself in. It looks like history is going to repeat itself at Commonwealth Games 2010. The Organizing Committee has so far sealed deals worth just Rs243 crore, a small part of the Rs1,600 crore loan it has taken. Deals worth Rs300 crore more are in the pipeline. That still leaves a deficit of Rs1,057 crore, a tab that taxpayers will probably be stuck with. Some lessons are never learnt.
Money game: Workers look on as a crane lowers construction material at the under-renovation Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi, the main venue of Commonwealth Games 2010. Gurinder Osan/AP