Unsurprisingly South Korea is hosting the Winter Olympics at an enormous financial cost to the country:
Leave it to Andrew Zimbalist to throw cold water on an even colder Winter Olympics. The Smith College economics professor and long-time Olympics skeptic hopped on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” to spill the beans on the pitfalls of the PyeongChang Games.
The most stunning nuggets? That South Korea is staring down a loss north of $10 billion for hosting this year’s international festivities.
“At the end of the day, they spent $13 billion. They’ll get back about $2.5 billion,” Zimbalist said. “The only way you can justify that kind of a terrible balance is if, in the long run, it’s going to promote tourism, promote trade and promote foreign investment.
“There’s no evidence from other Olympics that that might happen.”
That astronomical bill stems, in part, from building scantly used Olympic venues — and not just the $109 million ceremonial stadium in PyeongChang. The organizers also spent untold sums to clear 58,000 trees from a sacred forest on Mount Gariwang, where the Alpine skiing course was subsequently constructed.
Beyond that, South Korea spent billions on infrastructure to connect PyeongChang to the South Korean capital of Seoul. Even with the addition of high-speed rail, the commute still clocks in close to two hours.
Some of these costs might be justifiable if the host country’s citizens were enthusiastic about snow and ice activities. But to hear Zimbalist tell it, “The South Koreans are not very fond of winter sports in general.” [Yahoo Sports]
You can read more at the link, but the article goes on to explain how only 60% of the tickets for the events have been sold showing how little interests locals have in the games. What is even sadder about this economic loss is that the biggest winner of the Winter Olympics has so far been North Korea with their propaganda coup all at the ROK government’s expense.