Brisbane Olympic Games 2032: Will the Olympics deliver a net benefit for the Australian community?

29 March 2022

PDF version [844KB]

Rodney Bogaards
Economic Policy[1]

Executive summary

  • In February 2021, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) designated Brisbane's bid for the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games (the Games) as having ’Preferred Bid Status’. This meant that Brisbane was the only one of numerous bid cities that progressed to the ‘targeted dialogue’ phase. This was followed by a ‘final negotiations’ phase, with the official declaration of Brisbane as the successful host city occurring at an IOC session on 21 July 2021.
  • Economic impact studies commissioned by hosting governments before the Games commence often conclude that hosting will provide a major economic boost for the host cities and regions. Most economic evaluations carried out after the Games, have concluded that the expected benefits are either overstated or in some cases non-existent and that the costs were much larger than budgeted.
  • Given the generally negative host city experiences, the IOC has had to rethink how the Games are delivered to increase the value proposition of hosting. This rethinking led to many changes in key areas of the bidding and hosting frameworks. Together they became known as the ‘New Norm’ changes. As a result of these changes, the IOC suggests costs are expected to decline for prospective host cities.
  • There are a number of reasons why the IOC’s ‘New Norm’ changes may not be sufficient to prevent future Games’ hosts exceeding their budgets. A recent research paper has put forward six additional steps for better Games management. These steps should be studied by any prospective host government that is yet to fully commit to hosting the Olympic Games.
  • Based on this history, there is considerable uncertainty as to whether the benefits of the Brisbane Olympics in 2032 will outweigh the costs to the community, even with the ‘New Norm’ changes. This suggests the need for any prospective host government to undertake a careful assessment of costs, benefits and risks before committing to host the Olympic Games.


Executive summary
The economic impact of hosting the Olympic Games
The IOC’s ‘New Norm’ changes
Potential impact of the ‘New Norm’ changes?
Brisbane’s 2032 Olympic Games bid
Supplementary KPMG benefit analysis that does little to enhance clarity
Better Games management


In February 2021, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) designated Brisbane's bid for the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games ’Preferred Bid Status’.[2] This meant that Brisbane was the only one of numerous bid cities[3] that progressed to the ‘targeted dialogue’ phase. This was followed by a ‘final negotiations’ phase[4], with the official declaration of Brisbane as the successful host city occurring at an IOC session on 21 July 2021.[5]

Following the announcement of the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) (and Brisbane 2032 Committee) commencing targeted dialogue with the IOC to host the 2032 Olympic Games, the IOC President Thomas Bach stated:

According to the clear report of the Future Host Commission, the Brisbane 2032 project is fully aligned with Olympic Agenda 2020 and the new recommendations of Olympic Agenda 2020+5. It proposes sustainable Games in line with the region’s long-term strategy and using primarily existing and temporary venues.[6]

Chair of the Future Host Commission[7],Kristin Kloster Aasen, added:

We are delighted the IOC Executive Board [EB] agreed with the Commission’s recommendation to invite Brisbane 2032 to targeted dialogue. The IOC EB and the Commission noted the excellent progress that it has made, the strength of its proposition and the strategic opportunities it affords to the Olympic Movement. It meets all the criteria to be invited to move into the next stage.[8]

According to the IOC, the main reasons why Brisbane 2032 was proposed for ‘targeted dialogue’ were:

The very advanced Games concept, which is fully aligned with Olympic Agenda 2020 and using 80 to 90 per cent existing or temporary venues.

The venue masterplan, which has already been discussed with International Sports Federations and the International Paralympic Committee.

The high level of experience in hosting major international sports events.

The favourable climate conditions for athletes in July and August, despite the current global challenges caused by climate change.

The alignment of the proposed Games with South-East Queensland’s long-term strategy (“SEQ City Deal”, February 2019) to improve local transport infrastructure, absorb demographic change and promote economic growth.

Australia’s sporting success throughout modern Olympic history. The last Games in Oceania were Sydney 2000, which would mean the Games returning to the continent 32 years later.

The existing and planned transport infrastructure and experience in traffic management, which can adequately meet the demands of the Olympic Games and were successfully implemented for the Commonwealth Games in 2018.

The existing hotel accommodation inventory, which already meets Games requirements.

Strong support from all three levels of government, as confirmed on several occasions by highest-level representatives from the City of Brisbane, the Southeast Queensland Council of Mayors, the State of Queensland, and the federal government.

The strong public support and that of the private sector.

Australia’s high scores on human development indices, in particular its great progress towards achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.[9]

In reporting to the IOC Executive Board, the IOC prepared this presentation outlining its feasibility assessment for Brisbane 2032, including analysis of both strategic and technical criteria. The decision to move to the ‘targeted dialogue’ phase was based upon a positive feasibility assessment, third-party independent expertise, socio-economic and political factors, alignment with the Olympic Agenda 2020 and public support.

Brisbane Lord Mayor and Bid Committee member Adrian Schrinner is confident that a 2032 Brisbane Olympics will generate a positive outcome for the community because the economic and social benefits from the Olympics will be widespread and long lasting and the economic costs will be contained by using (some) existing and temporary venues:

"Because we're not building everything brand new and shiny, because we're not in this very expensive bidding process, because we're spreading it over an entire region rather than concentrating it in one city all in one small area, those factors mean it's a very different type of Olympics," Brisbane Lord Mayor and bid committee member Adrian Schrinner said.

If we get the Games, that will mean a decade-long confidence boost to our region and that will have a long tail as well."

Some of the existing venues would need to be expanded or renovated, but Mr Schrinner said it was "a relatively small gap in the scheme of things".[10]

On the other hand, Professor Andrew Zimbalist, a noted US academic and sports economist, concluded:

In the short run, the increasingly massive costs of hosting cannot come close to being matched by the modest revenues that are brought in by the games. The payoff, if there is one, must be realized in the long run. But even the legacy return is at best dubious. Much of the alleged legacy comes in the form of qualitative gains, and the rest comes over very long periods of time, difficult to trace back to the several-week period of the games or the prior construction. But more often than not, the main legacy consists of white elephants that cost billions to build and millions annually to maintain, along with mountains of debt that must be paid back over ten to thirty years.[11]

This research paper explores the potential economic impact of hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games (the Games) and explains the reasons why hosting the Games may not provide the payoff that some might expect. It then examines the Games’ costs and cost overruns, and briefly considers the host city experience of Rio de Janeiro (2016), London (2012) and Sydney (2000) as host cities. The paper then considers the ‘New Norm’ changes implemented by the IOC, examining the likelihood of these preventing future Games’ hosts exceeding their budgets. Finally, the paper evaluates the information publicly available on Brisbane’s 2032 Games bid and makes some suggestions, based on recent research, of how those involved with Olympic bids can improve the odds of generating a positive outcome for their communities.

The economic impact of hosting the Olympic Games

Economic impact studies commissioned by hosting governments before the Games commence often conclude that hosting will provide a major economic boost for the host cities and regions by creating jobs, attracting tourists, and boosting overall economic output. While there are some exceptions (notably, Los Angeles (1984) and Barcelona (1992)), most economic evaluations carried out after the Games, have concluded that these purported benefits are either overstated or in some cases non-existent and the actual costs were much larger than budgeted.

In Los Angeles’ case, it was the only bidder for the 1984 Games. This enabled the local organising committee to arrange for the US Olympic Committee and the IOC to guarantee the city against any operating losses. Los Angeles also passed an ordinance stipulating that it would not spend public money on the Games. The city also utilised much of its existing sporting infrastructure, including some from the 1932 Olympics, thereby requiring a minimal construction budget, while University dormitories were used for the accommodation of athletes and their coaches, rather than a purpose-built Olympic Village. A large increase in television broadcast revenue further helped: broadcast revenue in Los Angeles (US$286.9 million) was more than three times the amount of the preceding 1980 Moscow Games (US$88 million). Partly driven by television coverage increasing from 111 countries for Moscow to 156 countries for Los Angeles, the end result was an operating surplus of US$215 million.[12]

In Barcelona’s case, its success has been attributed to the Games working harmoniously with established city planning processes. The master plan for reinvigorating the Barcelona cityscape preceded the Games. This meant the Games had to fit in with the pre-existing plan, rather than the typical pattern of the plan having to be revised to fit in with the Games. A good example of this was the early construction of sports facilities:

Of the thirty-seven sports facilities ultimately used during the 1992 Olympics, twenty-seven were already built and another five were under construction at the time Spain was selected to host the games in 1986.[13]

This meant that around 83 percent of the total cost of the Games went into non-sports infrastructure for use by the general community, most of which was financed by the private sector.[14]

Arguably, many of the studies undertaken before the Games are subject to ‘optimism bias’ since they are prepared by consulting firms hired to facilitate a bid process using methodologies and assumptions that will deliver the desired result. On the other hand, studies undertaken after the Games are usually undertaken by independent scholars using data generated before, during and after the event in models designed to establish the economic effects of the Games (for example, on GDP, employment and trade).[15]

A good overall survey of the host city experience is provided by the Council on Foreign Relations. The Council concluded that, ‘[u]ltimately, there is little evidence for an overall positive economic impact’.[16]

Academic studies on the economic impact of hosting the Games

According to some economists, there are several explanations for why mega-sports events like the Games do not tend to provide an overall positive economic impact for the host country:

  • much of the economic activity is an ‘economic transfer’ because it is generated from locals who would have spent their money in the economy regardless
  • there is a ‘crowding out effect’ as economic activity tailored to the Olympics ‘crowds out’ other economic activity that would have taken place during the relevant period. For example, the UK saw a decline in overall international visitors when it hosted the 2012 Summer Olympics. Although the 2012 London Olympics attracted 800,000 visitors to the United Kingdom, the UK Government reported overall international visitor numbers were down compared to the corresponding quarter of the previous year and remarked ‘[t]his suggests that there was substantial displacement of regular visitors who were deterred by the potential for overcrowding, disruption and price rises because of the Games’.[17] Displacement of regular visitors was also a concern at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.[18]
  • money spent in a local economy during a mega-event may not remain in the local economy (particularly where hotels or other service industries are owned by non-residents)
  • potential host cities and countries face numerous competitors, encouraging bids with promises to lavish spending on both facilities and operations, and ‘optimistic accounting’. Organising bodies have rarely selected hosts that have promised to minimise spending on sports infrastructure
  • unless there is significant unemployment in a host city, Olympic activities—such as venue construction, event organisation and sports tourism—merely act to displace employment in other activities, instead of creating new employment and
  • infrastructure costs generally spiral out of control due to the rushed schedules; and infrastructure benefits are oversold as stadiums and other non-sports facilities remain unused or under-utilised once the Games have concluded. Following three weeks of intense use during the Olympics, hotels, airports and transportation networks may be extensively overbuilt for the post-event period. For example, two major luxury hotels built for the 1994 winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, filed for bankruptcy shortly after the close of the Games.[19]

These economists conclude that:

It remains a widespread belief among countries that there are substantial national gains to be made from hosting these global events, but the evidence indicates that this is rarely the case.[20]

Table 1 shows that most economic studies have reached similar negative conclusions regarding employment, income, sales revenue, trade and investment. The repeated claims by Games’ supporters that hosting the Games is a catalyst for economic growth and employment seems to find little support in independent economic research.

Table 1: Studies on the economic impact of hosting the Olympic Games

Source Main Findings
2013, A Feddersen and W Maennig, ‘Employment Effects of the Olympic Games in Atlanta 1996 Reconsidered’ There was no long-term and persistent employment boost attributable to the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.[21]
2012, W Maennig and F Richter, ‘Exports and Olympic Games: Is There a Signal Effect?’ Authors disputed the empirical findings of Rose and Spiegel (see below) on the grounds that their sample of host countries was not a representative sample. When the authors corrected for this selection bias, they found that there remained little empirical evidence that hosting Olympic Games leads to better trade and investment outcomes for host countries.[22]
2011, S Billings and S Holladay, ‘Should Cities Go For The Gold? The Long-Term Impacts Of Hosting The Olympics’ No long-term impact of hosting the Olympic Games on a country’s Gross Domestic Product per capita or on a measure of trade openness.[23]
2010, R Baumann, B Engelhardt and V Matheson, ‘The Labor Market Effects of the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics An analysis of the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games. Examining taxable sales in the counties in which Olympic events took place, they found that some sectors—such as hotels and restaurants—prospered, while other retailers—such as general merchandisers and department stores—suffered. Overall, the gains in the hospitality industry were lower than the losses experienced in other sectors. The authors warned that ‘[g]iven the experience of Utah, potential Olympic hosts should exercise caution before proceeding down the slippery slope of bidding for this event.’[24]
2009, A Rose and M Spiegel, ‘The Olympic Effect Hosting a mega-event such as the Olympics had a positive impact on national exports. However, they also found that unsuccessful bids to host the Olympics had a similar positive impact on exports. In other words, the Olympic effect on trade can be attributed to the signal a country sends when bidding to host the Games, rather than the act of hosting.[25]

Olympic costs and cost overruns

A detailed examination of Olympic Games costs and cost overruns (using sports-related costs only) has recently been provided in a 2020 paper from Oxford University's Saïd Business School.[26]

The average sports-related costs[27] of hosting the summer Olympics between 1960 and 2016 was nearly US$6.0 billion (with Rio costing about US$13.7 billion and London nearly US$15.0 billion).[28] The average cost for the five Games held in the decade 2007–2016 was US$12.0 billion. The Sochi Winter Olympics cost US$21.9 billion, well above the average winter Olympics cost of US$3.1 billion (Table 2). Non-sports-related costs were typically several times that amount. Data was only available for actual sports-related costs for 25 of the 30 Games during the time period.

Table 2: Sports-related cost of the Olympic Games, 1960–2016, in 2015 US dollars

Games Events Athletes Cost (billions)
Rome 1960 150 5,338 n/a
Tokyo 1964 163 5,152 0.282
Mexico City 1968 172 5,516 n/a*
Munich 1972 195 7,234 1.009
Montreal 1976 198 6,048 6.093
Moscow 1980 203 5,179 6.331
Los Angeles 1984 221 6,829 0.719
Seoul 1988                  237 8,397 n/a
Barcelona 1992 257 9,356 9.687
Atlanta 1996 271 10,318 4.143
Sydney 2000 300 10,651 5.026
Athens 2004 301 10,625 2.942
Beijing 2008 302 10,942 6.810
London 2012 302 10,568 14.957
Rio 2016 306 10,500 13.692
Average, Summer 239 8,177 5.974
Median, Summer 237 8,397 5.560
Squaw Valley 1960 27 665 n/a
Innsbruck 1964 34 1,091 0.022
Grenoble 1968 35 1,158 0.888
Sapporo 1972 35 1,006 0.117
Innsbruck 1976 37 1,123 0.118
Lake Placid 1980 38 1,072 0.435
Sarajevo 1984 39 1,272 n/a*
Calgary 1988 46 1,432 1.109
Albertville 1992 57 1,801 1.997
Lillehammer 1994 61 1,737 2.228
Nagano 1998 68 2,176 2.227
Salt Lake City 2002 78 2,399 2.520
Torino 2006 84 2,508 4.366
Vancouver 2010 86 2,566 2.540
Sochi 2014 98 2,780 21.890
Average, Winter 55 1,652 3.112
Median Winter 46 1,432 1.997

*Mexican peso and Yugolsavian dinar experienced hyperinflation during or after the Games.

Source: B Flyvbjerg, A Budzier and D Lunn, ‘Regression to the tail: why the Olympics blow up’, Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space, published online, 15 September 2020, p. 27.

According to the authors, every summer Olympics since 1960 has run over budget, at an average of 213 per cent in real terms; the average cost overrun for the winter Games was 142 per cent (Table 3). It is interesting to note that the authors could only obtain data for 19 out of 30 Games for cost overruns during the 1960–2016 time period—that is, for 11 Games they could not find what the estimated and actual costs were, ‘despite trying hard’.[29]

The methodology for determining the cost overruns is described as follows:

Cost overruns are measured as actual outturn cost in percent of estimated costs. For example, if a Games was estimated to cost $8 billion and actually cost $12 billion, then the Games incurred a cost overrun of 50 per cent. The baseline for measuring cost overrun is the cost estimate at the time of bidding for the Games. All costs are measured in real terms, i.e., not including inflation.[30]

Table 3 shows the percentage cost overruns in real terms for the Olympic Games 1960–2016.

Table 3: Sports-related cost overrun of the Olympic Games, 1960–2016, calculated in local currencies, real terms

Games Cost overrun %
Montreal 1976 720
Barcelona 1992 266
Atlanta 1996 151
Sydney 2000 90
Athens 2004 49
Beijing 2008 2
London 2012 76
Rio 2016 352
Average, Summer 213
Median, Summer 120
Grenoble 1968 181
Lake Placid 1980 324
Sarajevo 1984 118
Calgary 1988 65
Albertville 1992 137
Lillehammer 1994 277
Nagano 1998 56
Salt Lake City 2002 24
Torino 2006 80
Vancouver 2010 13
Sochi 2014 289
Average, Winter 142
Median Winter 118

Source: B Flyvbjerg, A Budzier and D Lunn, ‘Regression to the tail: why the Olympics blow up’, Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space, published online, 15 September 2020, p. 29.

The Australian Olympic Committee President, John Coates, declined to comment on the Oxford University paper: ‘I’ve taken the view that I’ve got more productive things to do with my time than to analyse that report and respond to it’.[31]

However, the IOC newsletter did take issue with the approach taken in the Oxford University paper which combined operating costs and sports-related capital costs to give an overall estimate of sports-related costs. The IOC suggested that this approach over-estimates the costs of the Olympic Games. The focus of the Oxford University paper, however, is the gap between projected and actual costs, rather than the allocation of sports-related capital costs. In any event, given many high-capacity Olympic venues suffer from low (or no) demand after the Games conclude, the apportionment could easily be quite high for many venues, especially ‘white elephant’ infrastructure (where it would be 100 per cent).[32]

Continuing the trend of the actual costs of host cities being larger than budgeted, the 2021 Tokyo Olympics has also suffered large cost overruns—not all due to the postponement from COVID-19—coming in at over US$22 billion compared to projected costs of US$7.3 billion when Tokyo was awarded the Games in September 2013.[33] These costs include operational costs and capital costs (both direct and indirect) which are described more fully, later in the paper, in relation to the 2032 Brisbane Olympic Games bid.

The 2016 Rio, 2012 London and 2000 Sydney Olympic Games

In this context, we can look more closely at the experience of three city case studies: Rio and London because they were the most recently completed (and evaluated) summer Olympics. Similarly, Sydney was the most recent summer Olympics undertaken in Australia. Together they provide the most contemporary examples of host city experiences that have been subject to some degree of reflection or appraisal.

2016 Rio Olympic Games

The 2016 Rio Olympic Games provides a useful case study to highlight the downside risks of hosting the event. The city is still struggling with debt, ongoing maintenance costs for abandoned facilities, underfunded public services and rising crime:

The final tally for Brazil, the first South American country to host the Olympics, exceeded $20 billion, with the city of Rio alone shouldering at least $13 billion ... The state [also] required a $900 million bailout from the federal government to cover the policing costs of the Olympics, and is still unable to pay all of its public employees, which some analysts say has contributed to the city’s rising violent crime.

The city also had to invest heavily in a broad range of infrastructure, much of it with dubious long-term utility. The city built four clusters of stadiums and other facilities, connected by new highways and rail lines. Most of these came in far over budget, with a state auditor finding the city’s $3 billion subway extension was overbilled by at least 25 percent.

The construction was meant to reinvigorate some of Rio’s struggling neighborhoods, yet more than a year later most venues are abandoned or barely used. The Olympic Park is closed, with most of its facilities overrun with waste and infested with insects and rodents. The nearly four thousand apartments that made up the athlete’s village were meant to be converted into housing for citizens, but sit vacant. Government attempts to auction the venues to private owners have failed, leaving the city with a $14 million annual price tag for maintenance. Meanwhile, at least seventy-seven thousand people were evicted from their homes in the course of construction, and the city, still dealing with its budget crisis, has since suspended its promised program to clean Rio’s deeply polluted waterways.[34]

2012 London Olympic Games

Some economic evaluations have suggested that there are sustained economic benefits to hosting the Games. For example, the London 2012 meta-evaluation, a government-funded report, suggested that the economic and social legacy of the 2012 London Olympic Games has been positive (although this ‘positive’ did not appear to be quantified).[35] A subsequent paper by one of the consultants to the report estimated the benefits of the Games—on tourism in 2012, on catalyzed private sector investments in East London, on inward investment and trade deals to the UK, and on employability and skills development—to be between £27.9 billion and £40.5 billion over the period 2004 to 2020.[36]

However, there have been criticisms of the government report as being a ‘political document’ rather than a serious piece of economic evaluation. One peer reviewer noted that the ‘report provided a very bullish view, refused to comment on any of the negatives, or even to really qualify any of the results’.[37] Another economist argued that the report was undertaken too soon after the Games to know whether the expenditure was worth the investment.[38]

2000 Sydney Olympic Games

A 2007 economic evaluation of the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games concluded that rather than producing an economic benefit the Sydney Games actually reduced Australian household consumption by $2.1 billion.[39] The authors use a dynamic computable general equilibrium (CGE) model to estimate the extent of a tourism legacy effect attributable to the Games.[40] The results ‘lend no support to the existence of an induced tourism effect’.[41]

A report from the European Tour Operators Association (ETOA) using ABS data found that the number of foreign visitors to Australia increased from 4.5 million in 1999 to 4.9 million in 2000, the year of the Sydney Olympics. These numbers were less than anticipated and then dropped away steadily in the three years following the Sydney Games to 4.7 million in 2003 before rising again in 2004.[42]

Looking at foreign and interstate tourism, construction and financing, and ‘Olympic operations’ (modelled as an industry with its own sales and cost structure), the results ‘clearly suggest that, in terms of purely measurable economic variables, … the Sydney Olympics had a negative effect on New South Wales and Australia as a whole’.[43]

Interestingly, a 1998 paper—pre the Sydney Olympic Games—(by one of the same authors) drew the opposite conclusion, that is, that there would be a net consumption gain of $2.7 billion from the Sydney Olympics.[44]

A useful discussion of why these pre- and post-Olympic results differed can be found in a 2012 article from Monash University:

In the pre-Games modelling, it was assumed that Games expenditure would stimulate the labour market and lower unemployment. The modelling also incorporated tourism forecasts which predicted that the Games, by showcasing Sydney, would leave a legacy of a large boost in overseas tourism to Australia. As it turned out, the Games occurred during a period of low unemployment in Australia, meaning that Olympics activities - like venue construction, event organisation and sports tourism - merely acted to displace employment in other economic activities, instead of boosting employment.

Furthermore, the modelling we undertook after the Games revealed no evidence that the Sydney Games had left a tourism legacy. Research by us and others indicates that hosting the Games in well-known tourism destinations does not have a strong advertising effect. With the Sydney Olympics failing to increase employment or leave a large tourism legacy, there are few other avenues for the Games to generate a net economic benefit.[45]

According to the Monash 2012 article, the financial contribution made by taxpayers to the Sydney Games was in the vicinity of $2.2 billion (in 2007 dollars) or approximately $420 per Australian household.[46] The consumption loss of $2.1 billion is similar in magnitude to the taxpayer contribution to the Games of $2.2 billion. According to the authors ‘this is no accident’:

Without unemployed resources or a tourism legacy, there is little remaining in the economic modelling that can lift the size of the net economic benefit above the size of the Games’ accounting loss. The Games’ losses, which ultimately must be covered by taxpayers, can thus be viewed as a natural floor or starting point for the calculation of the net economic benefits of any Games.[47]

The presence of a tourism legacy—a sustained increase in the number of tourists in the years following the Sydney Olympic Games—was also not supported by the Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC) as described in ETOA’s 2006 report:

The Sydney Olympics had few long-term positive impacts beyond 2000 on the growth of Australian tourism. The impacts were short-term and contained within a relatively tight geographic region. The forecast of a strong impact for the four years following the Games did not eventuate. As soon as the Olympics finished, we started to see a fall away in inbound activity. Australia went into three years of negative growth (2001, 2002 and 2003) ... The decline started the day the Olympic focus shifted to somewhere else.[48]

While some attributed this decline in foreign tourists to international terrorism events and global economic conditions, Australia’s performance was in marked contrast to the success of New Zealand over the same period, where foreign arrivals increased strongly.[49]

The IOC’s ‘New Norm’ changes

Given the generally negative host city experiences, the IOC has had to rethink how the Olympic Games are delivered to try to increase the value proposition of hosting. In December 2014, the IOC Session gave unanimous approval to Olympic Agenda 2020, providing the strategic direction for a major review of all aspects of organising the Olympic Games—from candidature to Games delivery through to legacy.

Of the 40 recommendations in the Olympic Agenda 2020 report, six focused on aspects of the organisation of the Olympic Games:

1. Shape the bidding process as an invitation

2. Evaluate bid cities by assessing key opportunities and risks

3. Reduce the cost of bidding

4. Include sustainability in all aspects of the Olympic Games

12. Reduce the cost and reinforce the flexibility of Olympic Games management

13. Maximise synergies with Olympic Movement stakeholders.[50]

According to the IOC’s Executive Steering Committee for Olympic Games Delivery:

[T]he overall goals that underpinned these [6] recommendations were to simplify the Candidature Process and to create Games which are more flexible, easier to operate and less expensive, whilst also unlocking more value for host cities over the long term.[51]

To address these goals, the IOC established three major initiatives around candidature, delivery and legacy. The ‘New Norm’ has been promoted by the IOC as an ambitious set of reforms that reimagines how the Olympic Games are delivered. IOC President Thomas Bach stated:

It is a fundamental rethinking of the organisation of future Games. This will lead to a new norm – from the candidature for and the delivery of the Games through to their legacy.[52]

The Chair of the Executive Steering Committee and IOC Member John Coates stated:

The modifications presented in “The New Norm” address many challenges associated with bidding for and hosting the Olympic Games. We examined if the right services and products were provided, if timing of delivery was optimal, and where we can provide additional expertise. What resulted is a robust plan that reduces complexity and costs, while maximising flexibility and partnership.[53]

An infographic of the IOC’s ‘New Norm’ reforms is provided in Figure 1.[54] The ‘New Norm’ reforms aim to provide more flexibility in designing the Games to meet the host’s long-term development plans and ensure that cities seeking to host the Games receive more support and assistance from the Olympic Movement before, during and after the Games.

Figure 1: The ‘New Norm’ reforms

Source: IOC, ‘The New Norm: It’s A Games Changer’, IOC website, accessed 6 April 2021.

In pursuing a 2032 Olympic Games for Brisbane, this new assistance was recognised by the Queensland Premier:

… the IOC’s New Norm rules meant it was the ideal time for the State to pursue the opportunity, with the IOC prepared to put in a significant investment towards Games delivery and provide flexibility.[55]

Examples of the ‘New Norm’ changes

Some 118 measures were put forward in the IOC’s New Norm report, designed to reduce the Games’ overall footprint, optimise operations and increase the value proposition of hosting the Games. According to the IOC:

By examining the seven-year journey with former Organising Committees (OCOGs), more than 80 of the 118 solutions that have been proposed would result in cost efficiencies without compromising the Olympic experience. The plan invites opportunities to reduce venue sizes, rethink transport options, optimise existing infrastructure and reuse the field of play for various sports.[56]

Some key examples of the ‘New Norm’ changes are provided below.

  • Candidature process—shorten the formal Candidature Stage to streamline and simplify the process and reduce the workload and related costs for cities (measure 5).
  • Host city contract—ensure greater action is taken with regard to sustainability and legacy by maximising the use of existing and planned infrastructure and considering temporary and demountable venues where no long-term legacy need exists (measure 8).
  • Legacy—advise cities interested in hosting the Olympic Games to develop a ‘high-level legacy plan,’ establishing priorities, action plans, potential funding sources and strategies for proactive communications (measure 13).
  • Games governance—ensure a greater role for the IOC in guiding, influencing and assisting organisers (measure 23).
  • Competition venues—no minimum requirements for venue capacities. Instead, capacity should be determined according to context with emphasis on a range of specific criteria (measure 32).
  • Training venues—reduce the overall number of training venues and the rental period for each by optimising the training schedule (measure 34).
  • Testing of the fields of play—testing of the fields of play is important to ‘stress test’ a number of venue functions, moreover for a number of sports, competing or training in the actual venue is essential for reasons of safety and fairness. The testing program must be tailored to achieving these objectives while containing costs. To reduce costs, strong consideration must be given to utilising events that are already planned to be held in the host city/region and the country prior to the Games. For example, by means of other major state, national or international competitions (measure 38).
  • Olympic village(s)—advise host cities/organising committees to consider temporary or demountable solutions for the Olympic village(s) if no existing facility is suitable and permanent facilities are not required post-Games (measure 44).
  • Media services—advise host cities/organising committees to consider multi-site, temporary or demountable solutions for the International Broadcast Centre and the Main Press Centre if no existing facility is suitable (measure 48).
  • Technology—encourage organising committees to update their telecommunications and central results management to reflect the latest technologies (cloud computing, etc.), which has the potential to reduce resources (measure 57).
  • Ceremonies—while keeping the objective of maximising the impact of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, organising committees are encouraged to limit the production costs. The IOC and stakeholders will support organising committees in exerting greater control over their ceremony investments (measure 69).
  • Transport—organising committees are encouraged to find solutions which make use of public transport and minimise the use of a dedicated fleet of buses (measure 79).
  • Accommodation—organising committees are encouraged to use temporary accommodation for referees, workforce, journalists, broadcasters, sponsors, etc. when existing capacities are insufficient or there is no post-Games need for new permanent structures (measure 91).
  • Food and beverage—simplify food and beverage services, especially warm menus for some stakeholder groups. Where kitchen facilities must be fully designed and built, warm food will be provided only to certain Games clients (measure 97).
  • Medical services—allow for specific services and/or equipment not considered essential to be provided at local hospitals within reasonable distance of the Olympic Village (maximum 15 minutes) instead of within the Olympic Village Polyclinic (measure 101).
  • IOC support to organisers—the IOC will introduce executive learning and coaching to senior Games organisers. This will shorten and accelerate the learning pathway for key individuals who need to take important decisions in an unfamiliar environment (measure 112).

IOC expects cost savings from the ‘New Norm’ changes

The IOC’s Executive Steering Committee for Olympic Games Delivery suggests the ‘New Norm’ measures will improve the design and delivery of future Olympic Games through:

Better integration of Olympic stakeholders in the governance and delivery;

Overall plans fully adapted to local context;

Right sizing of resources (staff, equipment, spaces, etc.);

Right quality of services;

Use of third parties’ capabilities to deliver;

Shared solutions with previous and next organisers; and

Shorter delivery timelines.[57]

The IOC’s Executive Steering Committee for Olympic Games Delivery estimates that there will be significant cost savings for host cities (see Figure 2):

Combined, the adoption of all the measures could lead to maximum savings of up to USD 1 billion in the organisation of the Olympic and Paralympic Games and USD 500 million in the organisation of the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (based on previous OCOG budgets).

Savings are marked as “maximum” because, although they have been calculated based on real spends or estimations at a series of previous Games, implementation will depend on the local context for each city.[58]

Figure 2: Potential Savings as identified in the 2018 ‘New Norm’ report

Source: IOC, ‘The New Norm: It’s A Game Changer’, IOC website, accessed 6 April 2021.

The biggest Olympic Games savings of US$228 million are expected from a reduction in competition and training venue costs:

The increased flexibility in venue selection criteria arising from the use of existing mono-functional venues, even if located outside the host city / region; the elimination of minimum venue capacities, combined with increased venue sharing opportunities; and reduced venue-specific requirements, can lead to significant savings related to venue construction.[59]

Savings from technology/energy of US$207 million are also expected to be significant:

The current Games delivery model for technology is well established. It relies heavily on bespoke-technology solutions and an intense level of resources required to manage planning, delivery and operations. While successful, this model will be reconsidered based on advances in information technology, including the introduction of cloud technology, increased reliability of commercial telecommunications services and changes in the working habits of Games stakeholders. In order to take advantage of the evolution in core and off-the-shelf technology services, a change in the Games technology operational model should be considered. This would involve a review of the levels of service being delivered by … technology partners. Overall, the measures proposed … will reduce the scale, costs and complexity of the global Games technology delivery model.[60]

Potential impact of the ‘New Norm’ changes?

In the 2020 research paper, mentioned earlier in relation to Olympic costs, the authors suggest a number of reasons why the ‘New Norm’ changes may be insufficient to avoid potential or actual cost overruns.[61] Table 4 outlines six drivers behind cost overruns at the Games which are identified in the research paper.

Table 4: Six drivers of cost overruns at the Olympic Games




Unlike other investment projects host cities find it difficult to abandon the Games even if it would be a rational decision to do so.[62]

Hosting the Games is a difficult decision to reverse. When the scope and costs begin to escalate hosts generally do not have the option of walking away, as they do with most other investments, even if they think this would be the best course of action.

Fixed time schedules

It is not possible to reduce costs by extending the time of the project schedule.[63]

For other types of investment projects, trading off budget against timing is common, and is often an effective mechanism to dampen cost escalation. This mechanism is not available to the Games, since timing cannot be moved, except in extreme circumstances.

Misaligned incentives

The IOC has no incentive to reduce costs because the host is legally bound to cover cost overruns (sometimes known as the ‘Blank Cheque Syndrome’).[64]

The host takes on all the cost risk. The IOC makes its profit from higher revenues, so if more host spending leads to improved revenues this is a positive for the IOC, irrespective of the cost to the host. The incentives of the IOC and hosts to keep costs down are not aligned.

Tight coupling

The size, structure and quality of the project are often strictly defined by the requirements of the sports, leaving little or no room for cost-reducing changes.[65]

These non-negotiable constraints set the Olympics apart from more conventional projects where trade-offs between budget, schedule, scope, and quality have wider margins.

Long planning horizons

The long planning horizon increases the risk of negative impacts from random events and changes in the business cycle.[66]

The longer the duration, the larger the window, and the greater the risk of an adverse event occurring which impacts the Games. This could include security/terrorist threats, labour strikes, transportation breakdowns and natural catastrophes.

Cities and nations typically bid for the Games when the economy is buoyant, with the consequence that the business cycle has reversed when the opening date arrives seven to eleven years later.

‘Eternal beginner syndrome’[67]

As the host changes for each Olympic Games, they are often inexperienced in managing projects of this size and complexity.[68]

Source: B Flyvbjerg, A Budzier and D Lunn, ‘Regression to the tail: why the Olympics blow up’, Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space, published online, 15 September 2020, pp. 10–13.

The authors also note that the ‘New Norm’ reforms may not prevent prospective host cities from walking away from the bidding process when expected future costs—relative to expected future benefits—appear to be excessive:

Cities have explicitly and vocally cited extravagant costs and cost overruns as a main reason for exiting the bid process. With Agenda 2020 [and the New Norm initiative], which is being touted by the IOC as protecting the interests of host cities, the IOC has made a first attempt to address the exodus, and to protect its brand and product. But the [New Norm] initiative though welcome, does not address the root causes and looks like too little too late … Our guess is that more reform will prove necessary to stop the exodus.[69]

Given the significant cost overruns in Tokyo 2021, noted earlier, the endorsement of Olympic Agenda 2020 and the subsequent ‘New Norm’ changes were announced too late to assist with reining in costs at these Games.[70] Although, as per Recommendation 1 of Olympic Agenda 2020, the Tokyo Organising Committee for the Olympic Games ‘was encouraged to use more existing and temporary venues’ to generate US$2.2 billion in cost savings and ‘a number of requirements regarding transport, energy, overlay and others were also modified’ presumably to generate further cost savings.[71]

Brisbane’s 2032 Olympic Games bid

Despite the release of two evaluation reports, one in February 2020 and the other in June 2021 (see the ‘impact study’), there is little publicly available detail on the cost of a Brisbane Olympics—or more accurately, a South-East Queensland Olympics.

On 11 February 2020, the Queensland Premier announced the release of a 24-page Value Proposition Assessment Executive Summary (VPAES).[72] It is not clear why the Queensland Government did not publish the full report. The VPAES does not provide a comparison of costs and benefits over any specified timeframe to provide the reader with an indication of the ‘net benefit’ to the community (be that Brisbane, South-East Queensland, Queensland or Australia).

As noted by Queensland economist Gene Tunny:

I suspect it didn’t publish the full report because it would raise too many questions about the merits of the Olympic bid. The [VPAES] report does not provide any tabulations of expected costs, both operational and capital costs, to compare with expected benefits. The government hasn’t shown its calculations or its underlying assumptions supporting its confidence the Olympics will be a net positive for the state.

… It’s clear that the state government committed to bidding for the Olympics without having a firm idea what it would ultimately cost Queensland taxpayers. Anyone who has seen how investment decisions are made in private sector companies would be appalled by this lack of feasibility analysis and due diligence.[73]

Expected costs of hosting the Brisbane Games

Costs for hosting the Olympic Games fall into three main categories:

  • operational costs (‘Organising Committee for the Olympic Games costs’ or ‘OCOG costs’)—incurred by the Organising Committee for the purpose of staging the Games. These include workforce, technology, transportation, administration, security, catering, ceremonies and medical services
  • direct capital costs (‘non-OCOG direct costs’)—incurred by the host city or country or private investors to build the competition venues, Olympic village(s), international broadcast centre, and media and press centre, and which are required to host the Games
  • indirect capital costs (‘non-OCOG indirect costs’)—for example, road, rail or airport infrastructure, or hotel upgrades or other business investment incurred in preparation for the Games but not directly related to staging the Games.

Operational costs

The VPAES claims that OCOG costs will be completely offset by IOC contributions and OCOG revenues:

The OCOG revenues include contributions from the IOC (approximately USD 1.8 billion) related to Broadcast Agreements and The Olympic Partners program, domestic sponsors, licensing and merchandising and ticket sales.

Based on current forecasts, the OCOG budget of $4.45 billion to deliver the Olympic and Paralympic Games is expected to be cost neutral and at no cost to the Queensland Government.[74]

According to a recent media report, these operational costs have already increased by 30 per cent since the VPAES was published—from $4.45 billion to $5.8 billion.[75]

Capital costs

However, no information was provided in the VPAES on the expected magnitude of non-OCOG direct and non-OCOG indirect costs:

The non-OCOG costs for the 2032 Games will include:

  • State Government services (planning and delivery)
  • Games legacy venues (Games induced venues) and villages
  • Legacy and festival programs [that are tailored to individual regions to meet priority local needs and deliver on regional strategic objectives].

Costs associated with the non-OCOG budget continue to be assessed.[76]

These non-OCOG costs include the capital costs for up to seven new venues according to the IOC’s feasibility assessment,[77] although the Olympic Stadium will now be part of a ‘redeveloped’ Gabba at a cost of $1 billion.[78]

To avoid ‘white elephants’, any new infrastructure built for the Brisbane Olympics should continue to be utilised in a commercial manner after the Games: it will continue to cost money to maintain, secure and operate. The ‘Bird’s Nest’ in Beijing may be the best known white elephant in the recent history of the Olympic Games: it served as the Olympic Stadium for the 2008 Beijing Games, cost a reported US$428 million to build and had a capacity of 90,000 people. It now costs over US$10 million a year to maintain, hosts only occasional events, and largely serves as a tourist stop for visitors to Beijing.[79]

As with nearly all Olympic Games, it is expected that the capital costs for the Brisbane Olympics will be mainly (or fully) funded by the public sector. Recent media reports suggest that the Australian Government and the Queensland Government have agreed to share these forthcoming capital costs equally in a ‘50–50 infrastructure funding split’.[80] This is a much greater funding commitment by the Australian Government than occurred for the Sydney Games in 2000.[81]

The Australian Government and the Queensland Government will also establish a joint Olympic Infrastructure Agency that will have ‘full oversight of all projects from the planning, scoping and design phase through to contracting, construction and delivery’. According to Mr Ted O’Brien MP, the Prime Minister’s Olympics representative, the joint body would ensure only infrastructure crucial to the delivery of the Games would receive funding.[82]

The Olympic Infrastructure Agency will have the difficult task of identifying and balancing numerous (and sometimes conflicting) interests and objectives across community groups, businesses and governments to achieve the best outcome for the overall community. A rather jaundiced view was expressed by one researcher summarising his experience of cities hosting mega sporting events:

In either democratic or authoritarian countries, the tendency is for event planning to hew closely to the interests of the local business elite. Construction companies, their unions, insurance companies, architectural firms, media companies, investment bankers, lawyers, and perhaps some hotel or restaurant interests get behind the Olympic or World Cup project. All stand to gain handsomely from the massive public funding. Typically, these interests hijack the local organising committee, hire an obliging consulting firm to conduct an ersatz economic impact study, understate the costs, overstate the revenues, and go on to procure political consent.[83]

Indirect capital costs are often higher than direct capital costs for the Olympic Games. For example, recent research on sport and general infrastructure costs for summer Olympic Games found that the former outweighed the latter, often considerably.[84] The cost of general infrastructure for the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games was eight times that of sports’ infrastructure. On the other hand, for Sydney 2000, the cost of general infrastructure was only marginally higher.

According to the Venue Masterplan (see p. 20 of the IOC Feasibility Assessment) the proposal for the Brisbane Olympics focuses on three clusters:

  • Brisbane – main cluster with 21 venues
  • Gold Coast – six venues (excluding football preliminary venues), 65km from Brisbane and
  • Sunshine Coast – three venues (excluding football preliminary venues), 85km from Brisbane.

A noted US sports economist has questioned whether the general transportation infrastructure necessary to provide smooth movement between these three clusters will be consistent with South-East Queensland’s longer-term planning and development needs:

"Although they call it a Brisbane cluster, it's not really a cluster. The venues are all over the place," Andrew Zimbalist, from Smith College in Massachusetts, told 7.30.

"That means you have to build connecting transportation, and whether you do that in ways that are beneficial to the city's needs or are just beneficial to the need to connect venues is an important question."[85]

However, the IOC Feasibility Assessment indicates that ‘good and mature’ public transport and traffic management infrastructure used for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in 2018 is already in place. Moreover, as South-East Queensland is already facing strong population growth, major upgrades and the expansion of public transport infrastructure are already planned—so it seems likely that at least some of these costs may not be included in the indirect capital costs of the Games because they would have occurred irrespective of whether Brisbane was hosting the 2032 Games.[86]

Brisbane’s Final Submission in response to the IOC’s Future Host Questionnaire in May 2021 provided some further information on transport infrastructure planning in South-East Queensland:

By 2032 the transport corridors connecting the three Games zones (Brisbane, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast) will have increased road and rail capacity and connectivity. For example, the Cross River Rail project, currently under development, and other planned upgrades will unlock the bottleneck at the heart of the rail network resulting in system-wide capacity increase of more than 50 000 passengers per hour per direction. As a result of the road and public transport enhancements, Games Family, as well as spectators and workforce, will enjoy comfortable travel times and service levels.[87]

Figure 3 displays the transport modes to be used between the venue clusters and precincts in 2032. According to the Final Submission, within the three zones, the transport plan for each cluster, precinct and venue has been developed to provide appropriate access.

Figure 3: Transport modes between the venue clusters and precincts in 2032

Source: IOC, IOC Future Host Commission questionnaire response, Final submission, May 2021, p. 24.

The longer-term ‘legacy’ returns of any augmented transportation infrastructure undertaken for the Brisbane Games will be one of the key factors in determining the extent of ‘net benefits’[88] generated from hosting the Games.[89]

Expected benefits of hosting the Brisbane Games

The VPAES was more specific on estimated benefits (albeit without providing the assumptions and methodology on which the headline results are based):

The preliminary analysis has determined the estimated benefits of the 2032 Games could be $7.4 billion (excluding any assessment of benefits or costs associated with transport infrastructure). This excludes the considerable benefits that are currently not able to be quantified. Quantifiable benefits include but are not limited to an uplift in tourism, trade and jobs.

Induced Tourism

TEQ [Tourism and Events Queensland] undertook an assessment of the potential uplift the 2032 Games could deliver Queensland and estimates the 2032 Games would generate an additional $20.2 billion in international overnight visitor expenditure (OVE) for the period 2020 to 2036. TEQ also estimates the 2032 Games would generate an additional $3.6 billion in domestic OVE (in real terms) in the year of and the year preceding the 2032 Games.


TIQ [Trade and Investment Queensland] undertook an assessment of the potential uplift the 2032 Games could deliver Queensland and estimates that Queensland could witness a Games-induced uplift in trade exports of up to $8.63 billion in the ten years leading up to and the ten years following the 2032 Olympic Games.


A mega-event such as the Olympic and Paralympic Games will benefit Queensland with long term impacts on jobs across multiple sectors. It is anticipated the Games will support approximately 130,000 direct jobs consisting of:

  • an average of 5000 sustained jobs per year, in the 10 years leading up to the Games creating significant tourism and construction job opportunities
  • a peak of 115,000 jobs during Games year to support the planning and delivery of the Games
  • over 10,000 sustained jobs for at least three years post Games resulting from increased visitation to Queensland.

In addition to direct jobs, there will be tens of thousands of indirect jobs supported by the Games including over 10,000 tourism induced jobs in the Games year alone …[90]

… In addition, there are a range of qualitative social and community benefits that the Games could deliver over a potential two-decade window of opportunity.[91]

Recalling the Sydney Olympics experience discussed earlier, some of these benefits might prove elusive if economic activity associated with the Olympic Games—such as venue construction, event organisation and sports tourism—merely act to displace employment in other economic activities; and if, for example, the tourism legacy benefits do not eventuate because South-East Queensland is already a well-known tourism destination.

The VPAES also suggested that the Brisbane Games would deliver a range of (unquantified) social benefits. These are listed below:

Business and government networks (business-to-business outcomes, government international relations, diplomacy and public-private partnerships).

Education and skills (upskilling residents, attracting a skilled workforce and developing a skill legacy).

Volunteers (individual short and long-term benefits, community short and long-term benefits and enhanced skills and capabilities).

Social cohesion and pride (residents' attitudes to their local area, shared image of city and community, primary networks at a communal level, inclusiveness of communities and institutions, trust in government and quality of life).

Improved health outcomes through increased uptake of sport and recreation opportunities, active and public transport use, improved liveability of communities and improved mental health through greater participation, social cohesion and community connectedness.

Inclusion and diversity (inclusion and tolerance of diversity, interest in different cultures, access to education, opportunities for employment).

Destination branding (awareness of city or country as tourist destination and amenity enhancements).

Disaster preparedness (measures taken to prevent, prepare for and reduce the effects of natural and man-made disasters).

Environmental sustainability (sustainability measures and environmental awareness).

Sport and athletes (elite sporting pathways, sports participation, health impacts, sports diplomacy and integrity in sport).

Accessible tourism (whether tourist destinations, products, services and experiences are accessible to all people, regardless of their physical limitations, disabilities or age).[92]

In regard to sports participation, there is no reliable international evidence that indicates the Olympic Games raises sport participation levels for a host country.[93] For the Sydney Games in 2000, international researchers suggest there is ‘mixed evidence’:

LERI (2007) noted that Haynes (2001) suggested anecdotal reports from the media of large post-Games increases in interest and participation in Olympic sports, but that Cashman (2006) showed that, in relation to recreational swimming at least, attendances in Sydney were static or slightly falling in the two to three years following the Games. For participation across Australia as a whole, Veal’s (2003) quantitative study showed post-Games increases in participation in seven Olympic sports, declines in nine others, and a general increase in recreational and non-Olympic activities. Murphy and Bauman (2007), in their systematic review of public health initiatives, suggested that there was no evidence from Sydney that the euphoria of the Games turned into increased activity afterwards, despite a great deal of ‘rhetoric’.[94]

The Australian research is also inconclusive, with non-Olympic sports witnessing stronger increases in adult participation than Olympic sports following the Sydney Olympics:

The analysis of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games suggests that there may have been a positive effect on adult sports participation overall but, curiously, non-Olympic sports rather than Olympic sports experienced stronger increases. For children, Olympic sports did better, lending some support to the idea that the Olympic Games may be effective in inspiring young people to take up sport.[95]

VPAES summary of costs and benefits

Table 5 provides a summary of the costs and benefits of hosting the Brisbane Olympic Games drawn from the VPAES. The information provided is insufficient to draw any conclusions as to whether the Games are likely to provide a net benefit to the community.

Table 5: VPAES summary of costs and benefits of hosting the Brisbane Olympic Games 2032

Costs $A Billion
Operational costs 4.45
Direct capital costs Unquantified
Indirect capital costs Unquantified
Induced tourism 20.20 (from 2020 to 2036)
Trade 8.63 (from 2022 to 2042)
Social benefits Unquantified

Source: Queensland Government, 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Value Proposition Assessment, Executive Summary, 2019.

Supplementary KPMG benefit analysis

Following the IOC announcement in February 2021 that Brisbane had preferred bid status, economic consultant KPMG was engaged by the Queensland Department of Tourism, Innovation and Sport to update and refine the analysis of benefits contained in the VPAES to reflect new information (for example, changes to the Games Masterplan) and to consider any potential impacts of COVID-19 on the analysis.[96] Perhaps surprisingly, KPMG did not provide any updates to the cost information provided in the earlier VPAES, so there is still limited clarity as to whether the Games are in the community interest.

Table 6 from the KPMG summary report, released by the IOC on 10 June 2021 (see the impact study), presents a summary of the quantified benefits, for the 20 year period 2022 to 2042.

The estimated impact of the new expenditures from the Games is also projected to result in the creation of approximately 122,900 job years at a national level and approximately 91,600 job years in Queensland over the 20 year evaluation period.

Table 6: KPMG summary of potential quantifiable benefits ($A billion)




Economic benefits



Social benefits



Total quantifiable economic and social benefits



Source: KPMG, Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Preliminary economic, social and environmental analysis, Summary report, on behalf of [Qld} Department of Tourism, Innovation and Sport, June 2021, p. 23.

An infographic taken from the KPMG summary report of the potential benefits of a Brisbane Games is provided below (Figure 4).

A number of technical criticisms can be made of the aggregated benefit estimates in the KPMG summary report, including:

  • limited consideration of the ‘base case’ scenario (p. 4), that is, what would have happened to the quantifiable benefits in the absence of hosting the Games—making it difficult to observe the incremental benefits from hosting the Games in the analysis.
  • quantification of benefits based on (unknown) secondary sources (p. 14). Economists can use a number of techniques to value benefits, particularly intangible benefits, that have no observed market prices (for example, community spirit and civic pride). But these valuation techniques can be difficult, expensive and time consuming to implement. To overcome these constraints (to conducting an original study) KPMG have used ‘plug in’ values from previous studies conducted elsewhere (sometimes known as ‘benefit transfer’ or using ‘secondary sources’). While transferring benefit information from secondary sources can provide a quick, low cost approach they should be treated cautiously as any technical weaknesses in the studies may result in bias—making these benefit estimates highly uncertain
  • provision of higher bound estimates only for the non-market benefits (that is, the social benefits) rather than including both central and lower bound estimates (p. 23). When conducting sensitivity analysis the central estimate assigns the most plausible values to the variables in the analysis to produce an estimate of benefits that is thought to be most representative. The lower bound estimate assigns the least favourable of the plausible range of values to the variables. The higher bound estimate assigns the most favourable of the plausible range of values to the variables. By using only the higher bound estimate KPMG is providing the best case scenario, making these benefit estimates appear overly optimistic
  • no discounting of future benefits (p. 23)—due to the uncertainty of the timing of the benefits, KPMG has not specified what the value of benefits will be in each year between 2022 and 2042. As a consequence, KPMG does not discount the future benefits, using a ‘discount rate’, thereby preventing the yearly benefits from being compared in a common metric—that is, their present value. This is important because individuals prefer a dollar today to a dollar in the future (that is why banks need to pay interest to entice individuals to forgo current spending). For example, the present value of $100 to be received in 2022  is usually much higher than the present value of $100 to be received in 2042—the difference in their present values will depend on the magnitude of the discount rate chosen. By not discounting the future benefits the benefit estimates in Table 6 are higher than they would be in today’s dollars (that is, their present value).
  • no transparent disaggregation of the quantified economic benefits (that is, induced tourism benefits and induced trade benefits) and quantified social benefits (that is, resident benefits, health benefits and volunteering benefits) into their individual components (p. 23). While these individual benefit components are discussed in chapters three and four of the KPMG summary report, no analysis is provided for how the aggregated totals of economic and social benefits in Table 6 are determined—making these quantified benefit estimates effectively unverifiable. There is also no provision of the specific assumptions, methodology used, and calculations generated for each of the individual components comprising the aggregate economic and social benefit values.
  • no sensitivity analysis is provided that shows how sensitive the estimated benefits are to different values of uncertain variables and to changes in assumptions—making it difficult to validate the robustness of the benefit estimates.[97]

Beyond these technical limitations, almost half the estimated benefits to Queensland (and over half the estimated benefits to Australia) are generated by intangible social benefits that are inherently difficult to quantify with any measure of certainty, including:

  • resident benefits—hosting the Games is assumed to deliver intangible benefits to Australian residents that are associated with legacy, community spirit, prestige and civic pride
  • health benefits—hosting the Games is assumed to deliver an increase in participation in physical activity across Queensland and the nation which in turn is anticipated to result in a lowering of risk of chronic diseases, improving mental health outcomes and enhancing productivity for Queenslanders and Australians
  • volunteering benefits—hosting the Games is assumed to deliver benefits to volunteers (such as self-improvement and altruistic value) and also to the broader community (such as the increased likelihood of future volunteering and the wage costs avoided because of the activities undertaken by volunteers in support of the Games).[98]

The KPMG analysis estimates that economic benefits, resulting from a Games-induced uplift in international tourism and trade, are in the order of $4.6 billion for Queensland and $8.5 billion for Australia—notably, the KPMG economic benefits estimate for Queensland is more conservative than the VPAES (albeit using different timeframes for international tourism, with VPAES using 2020–2036 rather than 2022–2042). However, since there is no evident reconciliation between the VPAES and KPMG reports or detailed disaggregation of the economic benefits, it is impossible to assess the likelihood of achieving the predicted benefits to international tourism or trade.

Figure 4: Potential benefits of a 2032 Brisbane Olympic Games

Source: KPMG, Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Preliminary economic, social and environmental analysis, Summary report, on behalf of [Qld} Department of Tourism, Innovation and Sport, June 2021, p. iii.

KPMG notes that a degree of uncertainty surrounds the economic benefit estimates and acknowledges that:

  • ‘findings in the literature are mixed about the size of the estimated tourism legacy benefits and the ability of major events to induce international tourism’
  • there is a ‘gap between research finding relating to anticipated tourism impacts of future major events and research findings relating to the realised tourism impact of major events that have been previously held’ and
  • ‘the mechanisms through which mega-events, such as the Games, can boost trade are usually not well-defined’.[99]

KPMG did not consider that COVID19 would create a ‘material’ risk of adverse impacts on Games-induced tourism:

The COVID-19 pandemic has raised risks that have the potential to reduce the induced tourism impact of the Games. However, these risks are unlikely to be material as they are mitigated by Queensland’s, and Australia’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.[100]

Similarly, it did not assess the impact of COVID-19 on Games-induced trade to be of any lasting concern:

The pre-COVID-19 baseline projections for trade by TIQ [Trade and Investment Queensland] remain valid in the medium to longer-term. Trade has been negatively affected due to COVID-19, but most economies have bounced back strongly and are expected to consolidate their recovery over the next two years, underpinned by the roll-out of vaccination programs. The assessment is that globalisation will not be stalled and a reversion to protectionist will be resisted.[101]

Perhaps of greatest concern, the KPMG analysis does not address likely costs of the Games to the Queensland and Australian communities. That is, KPMG only quantifies benefits, so it does not provide a balanced assessment of the economic and social impacts on communities of hosting the Games. Nevertheless, KPMG concludes that the benefits of Brisbane hosting the 2032 Games will outweigh the costs:

The focus of this report is on the economic and social benefits of a 2032 Games. Delivery of the 2032 Games will entail disbenefits in the form of economic opportunity costs associated with operations and legacy infrastructure. Preliminary analysis indicates that the economic and social benefits of hosting the 2032 games outweigh the disbenefits [costs].[102]

However, the absence of an analysis of costs makes it difficult to be confident there is likely to be such a ‘net benefit’ to the community from hosting the Games.

Better Games management

Despite the IOC’s ‘New Norm’ changes to Games governance, hosting requirements and support to organisers, the six main drivers of cost overruns (see Table 2) have yet to be adequately addressed. In light of this, the 2020 Oxford research paper put forward six additional steps for better Games management:

  • an acknowledgement by the IOC and potential hosts that hosting the Olympic Games is an extremely risky business and therefore an independent review of cost forecasts is essential

Today, there is some understanding of risk with the IOC and hosts, but nothing that reflects the real risks. Instead of extreme randomness, the IOC assumes low randomness when it states that a 9.1 percent contingency for unanticipated expenses is in line with the level of risk for previous Games … This number is glaringly insufficient when compared with actual cost overrun in the most recent Games … Either the IOC is deluded about the real cost risk when it insists that a 9.1 percent contingency is sufficient, or the Committee deliberately overlooks the uncomfortable facts ... Independent review of any cost and contingency forecast is therefore a must, including for estimates from the IOC.[103]

  • larger cost contingencies are needed

… to produce a significantly more realistic estimate of the necessary cost contingencies for the Olympics than the numbers put forward by the IOC. More realistic contingencies would have the additional advantage of softening the tight constraints … which in turn would help drive down cost blowouts and costs[104]

  • the IOC should hold some of the cost risk from staging the Games

The IOC sets the agenda, defines the specs, and has ultimate decision-making power over the Games. Nevertheless, the IOC holds none of the cost risk involved. As a result there is little alignment between incentives to keep costs down and making decisions about cost, which is one reason costs explode at the Games, and will keep exploding. … we suggest the IOC is made to cover from its own funds minimum 10 percent of any cost overrun for the Games, to be paid on an annual basis as overruns happen. This would give the IOC the motivation it lacks today to effectively manage costs down[105]

  • the seven-year delivery phase for the Olympic Games should be shortened

The longer the delivery, the higher the risk, other things being equal. … Faster delivery may be supported by a more standardized and modularized approach to delivery, without the need to reinvent the wheel at every Games, and by using existing facilities as much as possible. … Standardized turnkey solutions should be developed as far as possible to help hosts reduce costs[106]

  • the location of the Olympic Games and the delivery authority should have greater permanency to curtail the ‘eternal beginner syndrome’

… proposals have been put forward to host the Games in one or a few permanent locations – e.g., Athens – or, alternatively, that two successive Games should be given to the same host, so facilities could be used twice. … Games could be spread geographically with different events going to different cities, but with each event having a more or less permanent home … This could be combined with a permanent and professional delivery authority, responsible for staging the Games every time and accumulating experience in one place in order to secure effective learning and build what has been called a "high-reliability organization" for delivering the Games[107]

  • prospective host cities should walk away from the bid process if the financial risks become too great

Indeed, this has become a preferred strategy for many cities. Over the past 20 years the number of applicant and candidate cities have fallen drastically, from a dozen to a few. … For the 2022 Winter Olympics, the IOC ended up with just two potential hosts … For the 2024 Summer Olympics the same happened ... To protect itself from further humiliation with the 2028 Summer Games, the IOC broke precedent and selected the next two Summer Games hosts simultaneously by negotiating a deal with Paris and Los Angeles, according to which Paris would win the bid for the 2024 Games and the 2028 Games would go to Los Angeles without a bid round. Finally, for the 2026 Winter Olympics the IOC had to extend the invitation phase after no city had bid for the Games well into 2017.[108]

Given Brisbane is now confirmed as the host of the 2032 Games these proposals are redundant. However, the six steps to better Games management should be studied by any prospective host government that is yet to fully commit to hosting the Olympic Games.

Perhaps in the longer term, judgements about which prospective host city is best placed to reap the ‘legacy benefits’ of the Olympic Games may require the establishment of an independent panel to assist the IOC, as suggested in a New York Times (NYT) article:

The Games cost too much, and host populations derive insufficient benefit because Olympic development is often disconnected from city and regional planning. The I.O.C. should create an independent body comprising respected sports economists, urban planners and political scholars who can objectively assess whether bids’ construction plans fulfill long-view development strategies.

The Olympic Charter already allows for outside experts to assist with evaluating bids. This panel — let’s call it the Independent Bid Review Board — would meticulously analyze host cities’ filings and make recommendations to the I.O.C.’s key decision-making body, the Evaluation Commission.[109]

Moreover, the author of this NYT article also recommends that IOC member voting records should be transparent (although a moot point in circumstances where there is only one contender):

IOC members are notoriously capricious, ignoring technical reports and voting for the bid with the shiniest promises. The IOC should publish the records of voting members, so that there’s transparency about who is siding with the expert evidence and who is not.[110]


The history from cities that have hosted Olympic Games suggests a common tendency for overly optimistic estimates of the benefits, and underestimation of the significant direct and indirect costs, which has frequently resulted in large cost overruns. These cost overruns can have fiscal implications for years into the future: for example, Montreal took 30 years to pay off the debt incurred by the 720 per cent cost overrun on the 1976 Olympic Games. Cost overruns and associated debt from the Athens 2004 Olympics weakened the Greek economy and may have contributed to the country's deep financial and economic crises for the next decade.[111]

The experience of these and many other host cities suggests that Australian decision makers should be alive to the risks of optimism bias. In this context, and even applying the ‘New Norm’ changes, with limited cost information available and contestable benefit estimates there remains considerable uncertainty as to whether the benefits of the Brisbane Olympics in 2032 will outweigh the costs to the community. Given the substantial costs involved, prospective host governments should ensure a rigorous and critical assessment of costs, benefits and risks before committing to host the Olympic Games.


[1].   Many thanks to my colleague Liz Wakerly for her helpful comments and suggestions on this paper.

[2].   International Olympic Committee (IOC), ‘Brisbane and AOC invited to targeted dialogue for the Olympic Games 2032’, IOC website, 24 February 2021, accessed 1 April 2021.

[3].   The IOC did not confirm rival bidders, but interest is thought to have come from places such as Doha, Budapest, Istanbul, China’s Chengdu and Chongqing, and Jakarta. See T Holmes, ‘Brisbane’s bid for 2032 Olympic Games firms as it becomes last city left in negotiations’, ABC News, 24 February 2021.

[4].   IOC, ‘IOC Executive Board puts forward Brisbane 2032 for election by IOC Session’, IOC website, 10 June 2021, accessed 12 June 2021.

[5].   IOC, ‘IOC elects Brisbane 2032 as Olympic and Paralympic host’, IOC website, 21 July 2021, accessed 14 October 2021.

[6].   IOC, ‘Brisbane and AOC invited to targeted dialogue for the Olympic Games 2032’, op. cit.

[7].   See ‘Future Host Commissions – Terms of Reference’ for more information on their mandate within the IOC governance framework.

[8].   IOC, ‘Brisbane and AOC invited to targeted dialogue for the Olympic Games 2032’, op. cit.

[9].   Ibid.

[10]. P McCutcheon, ‘Would the Olympic Games be an economic bonanza for Queensland?’,  ABC website, accessed 28 April 2021.

[11]. A Zimbalist, Circus Maximus, The economic gamble behind hosting the Olympic Games and the World Cup, Brookings Institution Press, Washington DC, 2016 (2nd edn), p. 127.

[12]. Ibid., pp. 20–21 and p. 129.

[13]. Ibid., p. 76

[14]. Ibid., p. 144.

[15]. For a discussion of the issues see: A Zimbalist, ibid., pp. 35–43.

[16]. J McBride, ‘The economics of hosting the Olympic Games, Backgrounder, Council on Foreign Relations, last update 19 January 2018.

[17]. United Kingdom, Department for Culture, Media & Sport, Report 5: Post-Games Evaluation – Meta-Evaluation of the Impacts and Legacy of the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Game, Summary Report, July 2013, p. 18.  

[18]. J Carlini and A O’Neil, Business and the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games: Expectations, outcomes and the future, Griffith University, Griffith Business School, June 2019, p. 4.

[19]. These six dot points are all discussed in R Baumann and V Matheson, ‘Infrastructure investments and mega-sports events: comparing the experience of developing and industrialized countries’, College of the Holy Cross, Department of Economics Faculty Research Series, Paper No. 13-05, August 2013, pp. 7–14.   

[20]. Ibid., p. 21.

[21]. A Feddersen and W Maennig, ‘Employment effects of the Olympic Games in Atlanta 1996 reconsidered’, International Journal of Sport Finance, 2013, 8, pp. 95–111.

[22]. W Maennig and F Richter, ‘Exports and Olympic Games: Is there a signal effect?’, Journal  of Sports Economics, 13, No. 6, 16 August 2012, pp. 635–641.

[23]. S Billings and S Holladay, ‘Should cities go for the gold? The long-term impacts of hosting the Olympics’, Economic Inquiry, Vol. 50, No.3, July 2012, pp. 754–772.

[24]. R Baumann, B Engelhardt and V Matheson, ‘The labor market effects of the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics’, College of the Holy Cross, Department of Economics Faculty Research Series, Paper No. 10-02, May 2010.

[25]. A Rose and M Spiegel, ‘The Olympic Effect’, National Bureau of Economic Research, Working Paper No. 14854, April 2009.

[26]. B Flyvbjerg, A Budzier and D Lunn, ‘Regression to the tail: why the Olympics blow up’, Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space, published online, 15 September 2020.

[27]. Non-sports related capital costs such as road, rail, airport, hotel and other infrastructure are not included.

[28]. All dollar figures are US 2015 dollars.

[29]. B Flyvbjerg, A Budzier and D Lunn, op. cit., p. 3.    

[30]. Ibid.  

[31]. M Bleby, ’No cost blowout on Queensland 2032 Olympics, Coates vows’, Australian Financial Review, (online edition), 15 September 2020.

[32]. D Owen, ‘Academic paper calls for IOC to have "skin in the game" on Olympic cost overruns’, Inside the Games website, 9 September 2020, accessed 29 April 2021.

[33]. A Nygaard and CG Nielsen, ‘The unpredictable financial costs of hosting the Olympic Games’, Play the Game website, 23 February 2021, accessed 29 April 2021.

[34]. J McBride, ‘The economics of hosting the Olympic Games, op. cit.

[35]. Gov.UK, ‘London 2012 meta-evaluation’, published 19 July 2013.

[36]. N McCullough, ‘The economic legacy of the London Olympic Games’, Hitachi Research Institute, August 2015, p. 36.

[37]. A Shapiro, ‘Did London get an economic boost from the 2012 Olympics?’, NPR, 3 February 2014.

[38]. Ibid.

[39]. J Giesecke and J Madden, The Sydney Olympics seven years on: An ex-post dynamic CGE assessment, Centre of Policy Studies, Monash University, General Paper G-168, September 2007.

[40]. While not without weaknesses, CGE models are superior to earlier static input-output (I/O) models since they incorporate dynamic techniques that reduce the risk of overestimation of economic impacts. For further information see M Clark, Whole-of-economy modelling: beyond the black box, Staff research paper, Queensland Productivity Commission, April 2018.

[41]. J Giesecke and J Madden, op. cit., p. 5.

[42]. European Tour Operators Association, Olympic Report, 2006, p. 14.

[43]. J Giesecke and J Madden, op. cit., p. 10.

[44]. J Madden and M Crowe, The economic impact of the Sydney Olympic Games, RePEc, January 1998.

[45]. J Madden and J Giesecke, ‘Hosting the Olympics: cash cow or money pit?’, The Conversation, 26 July 2012.

[46]. Ibid.

[47]. Ibid.

[48]. European Tour Operators Association, Olympic Report, 2006, p. 15.

[49]. Ibid., p. 16.

[50]. International Olympic Committee (IOC), Olympic Games: the New Norm, Report by the Executive Steering Committee for Olympic Games Delivery, PyeongChang, February 2018, p. 3.

[51]. Ibid.

[52]. IOC, ‘The New Norm: It’s A Games Changer’, IOC website, accessed 6 April 2021.

[53]. Ibid.

[54]. Ibid.

[55]. A Palaszczuk (Queensland Premier), State gives green light to pursuing Games opportunity, media release, 9 December 2019.

[56]. IOC, ‘The New Norm: It’s A Games Changer’, IOC website,  op. cit.     

[57]. IOC, Olympic Games: the New Norm, op. cit., p. 10.      

[58]. Ibid. Full details of the basis for the financial calculations can be found in Annex 1 of the Olympic Games: the New Norm report.

[59]. Ibid., p. 48.

[60]. Ibid., p. 30.

[61]. B Flyvbjerg, A Budzier and D Lunn, ‘Regression to the tail: why the Olympics blow up’, Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space, published online, 15 September 2020.

[62]. Ibid., p. 10.       

[63]. Ibid.

[64]. Ibid., pp. 10–11.

[65]. Ibid., p. 11.

[66]. Ibid., pp. 11–12.

[67]. This should be less of a concern for Brisbane and South East Queensland given the Gold Coast’s recent experience of hosting the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

[68]. B Flyvbjerg, et al, ‘Regression to the tail: why the Olympics blow up’, op. cit., p. 13.

[69]. Ibid., p. 15.

[70]. The IOC selected Tokyo in September 2013, Olympic Agenda 2020 was endorsed in December 2014 and the New Norm changes were released in February 2018.

[71].   IOC, Olympic Games: the New Norm, op. cit., February 2018, p. 13.

[72]. A Palaszczuk (Queensland Premier), Games Jobs and Economic Benefits, media statement, 12 February 2020.

[73]. G Tunny, ‘More work needed to show SEQ Olympics would stack up’, Queensland Economy Watch, blog, 28 February 2021, accessed 14 April 2021.

[74]. Queensland Government, 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Value Proposition Assessment, Executive Summary, 2019, p. 15.

[75]. M Bleby, ‘Brisbane 2032 Olympic host costs are already soaring’, Australian Financial Review, 12 June 2021, p. 3.

[76].   Queensland Government, 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Value Proposition Assessment, Executive Summary, op. cit., p. 16.

[77]. IOC, IOC Feasibility Assessment - Olympic Games Brisbane, February 2021, p. 20.

[78]. J Marszalek, ‘Gabba to get $1bn Olympic-sized transformation’, The Courier Mail (online edition), 20 April 2021. While not brand new sports infrastructure, it appears that the Gabba will be essentially demolished and rebuilt (L Lynch, ‘Gabba to be ‘demolished’ in $1b Olympic Games facelift: Premier’, Brisbane Times, (online edition), 20 April 2021).

[79]. O Gibson, ‘Bird’s Nest stands as an empty monument to China’s magnificence’, The Guardian, (online edition), 23 August 2015.

[80]. C Peel, ‘Scott Morrison agrees to 50-50 Brisbane Olympics funding’, The Australian, p. 3, 27 April 2021.

[81]. R Bogaards, ‘Brisbane Olympic Games 2032’, Budget Review 2021–22,  Research paper series, 4, 2021–22, Parliamentary Library, Canberra, May 2021, pp. 16–17.

[82]. Ibid.

[83]. A Zimbalist, Circus Maximus, op. cit., pp. 130–131.

[84]. R Baade and V Matheson, ‘Going for the gold: the economics of the Olympics’, Journal of Economic Perspectives, Vol. 30, No. 2, Spring 2016, p. 205.

[85]. P McCutcheon, ‘Would the Olympic Games be an economic bonanza for Queensland?’,  op. cit.     

[86]. IOC, IOC feasibility assessment – Olympic Games Brisbane, February 2021, p. 56.

[87]. IOC, IOC Future Host Commission questionnaire response, Final submission, May 2021, p. 24.

[88]. A net benefit is the sum of expected benefits minus the sum of expected costs over a defined time horizon.

[89]. The term ‘legacy’ was introduced into the IOC vernacular after the 2000 Sydney Olympics and has become a broad, encompassing concept that seeks to justify the large costs of hosting the Olympic Games. See C Gaffney, ‘Between discourse and reality: the un-sustainability of mega-event planning’, Sustainability, No. 5, 16 September 2013, p. 3931.

[90]. Queensland Government, op. cit., pp. 16–17.

[91]. Ibid., p. 19.

[92]. Ibid., p. 17.

[93]. M Weed et al., A systematic review of the evidence base for developing a physical activity and health legacy from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Centre for Sport, Physical Education & Activity Research, February 2009.

[94]. M Weed et al., ‘The Olympic Games and raising sports participation: a systematic review of evidence and an interrogation of policy for a demonstration effect’, European Sport Management Quarterly, Vol. 15, No. 2, p. 208.

[95]. AJ Veal et al., ‘The sport participation legacy of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games and other international sporting events hosted in Australia’, Journal of Policy Research in Tourism, Leisure and Events, Vol. 4, No. 2, p. 175.

[96]. KPMG, Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Preliminary economic, social and environmental analysis, Summary report, on behalf of [Qld} Department of Tourism, Innovation and Sport, June 2021, p. 3.

[97]. Ibid., p. vii and pp. 4–5.

[98]. Ibid., pp. 14–17.

[99]. Ibid., p. 9 and p. 11.

[100]. Ibid., p. 11.

[101]. Ibid., p. 12.

[102]. Ibid., p. vi

[103]. B Flyvbjerg et al, ‘Regression to the tail: why the Olympics blow up’, op. cit., pp. 13–14 .

[104]. Ibid., p. 14.

[105]. Ibid.

[106]. Ibid.

[107]. Ibid., p. 15

[108]. Ibid.

[109]. J Boykoff, ‘A Bid for a Better Olympics’, The New York Times, (online edition), 13 August 2014.

[110]. Ibid.

[111]. B Flyvbjerg et al, ‘Regression to the tail: why the Olympics blow up’, op. cit., p. 6.


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