How much will the Beijing Olympics cost? The game economy in numbers

Posted 31 January, 2022

$3.9 billion


This is the official budget for the Beijing Olympics

The Chinese state broadcaster CGTN reported that the cost of hosting the 2022 Olympic Games will be $3.9 billion. This is many times less than the cost of the 2008 Summer Olympics in the same Beijing - $43 billion in the prices of that time or about $53 billion in today's prices. (taking into account the construction of arenas and urban infrastructure for the Games). China's official sports-related spending on the previous Olympics was estimated at $6.8 billion (in 2015 prices), according to a study by Oxford economists.

The actual costs of organizing the Olympic Games tend to be at least twice as high as originally stated. Vladimir Andreff, a sports economist at the University of Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne, called this the "winner's curse": the organizers of mega-competitions systematically overestimate the economic benefits of their application and underestimate the costs at the stage of winning their application. The record for the cost of the Olympics belongs to the city of Sochi (2014) - almost $ 60 billion in today's dollars (taking into account the construction of infrastructure for the Games that is not directly related to sports), according to the American Council on Foreign Affairs (CFR). Oxford researchers in terms of sports-related costs, excluding investments in roads, hotels, airports, and so on, also give Sochi a record ($ 21.8 billion in 2015 prices).


$880 million


So much will be given to Beijing to host the Olympics by the IOC

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) traditionally finances part of the cost of organizing the Games. The IOC allocated $880 million to the organizing committee of the 2022 Olympics, which is part of the official budget of $3.9 billion. About the same amount was provided to the South Korean Pyeongchang in 2018.

Part of the financing of the Olympics by the International Olympic Committee is allowed by income received from the sale of broadcasting rights and from global sponsors. For example, in 2014, the IOC sold for $2.5 billion to NBC the exclusive TV rights to show the Beijing 2022 Olympics and the 2024 Summer Games in Paris in the United States.


$118 million


This is how much the organizing committee expected to receive from ticket sales before the pandemic (according to France-Presse)

Back in September 2021, the organizers of the Beijing Olympics announced that in order to prevent coronavirus infection, foreign tourists would not be allowed to attend the competition. In January 2022, they went further by deciding to stop selling tickets to Chinese residents as well. Passes for the Games will be issued only to certain groups of Chinese citizens, such as party functionaries and employees of state-owned companies. In general, athletes and support workers will be in a quarantine "bubble", strictly separating them from the general public.

According to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), record ticket revenue at the Winter Games was received by the organizers of the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver - 1.5 million tickets sold for $ 250 million.


$9 billion


So much Chinese authorities have allocated for the construction of a high-speed railway for the Olympics

Back in 2009, China was going to start building a high-speed (350 km/h) railway from Beijing to the city of Zhangjiakou in Hebei province. Work began in 2014, even before Beijing won the right to host the Winter Games (that is, this project would most likely have been implemented without the Olympics). Nevertheless, the Olympics became an important factor influencing the implementation of the Beijing-Zhangjiakou railway project.

The railway was opened at the end of 2019 and became the first in the world with an autopilot function. It now connects Beijing, which will host speed skating, ice hockey, curling, and the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympics, to Yanqing Ski Center, which will host alpine skiing, bobsleigh, luge, and Zhangjiakou, which will host skiing. racing, biathlon, etc.


45 local sponsors


The organizing committee of the Beijing Olympics attracted so much

Currently, the organizing committee of the 2022 Olympics reports 45 commercial partners (according to the Chinese news agency Xinhua). The organizing committee retains the income received from them. This does not take into account the 14 international sponsors of the Olympic Movement (Coca-Cola, Intel, Alibaba, Toyota, Panasonic, etc.), which financially support the IOC and several Olympic cycles at once. American companies continue to sponsor the Beijing Olympics through the IOC despite a diplomatic boycott of the Games by the US government over human rights concerns in China.

Among the 45 local sponsors of the Olympics are Chinese oil and gas corporations Sinopec and CNPC, electric utilities State Grid Corporation of China and China Three Gorges Corporation, fast food restaurant chain Yum China, as well as a couple of Western brands - Snickers chocolate bars (owned by the American corporation Mars) and an audit company PwC. The organizing committee in Beijing did not disclose how much money it received from local sponsors.


300 million


So many people aimed to attract Chinese authorities to winter sports

In 2015, after winning the right to organize the Winter Olympics, the Chinese authorities announced the goal of involving 300 million people in the country in winter sports at an amateur or professional level. In January 2022, the State Bureau of Statistics of China announced that this goal had been achieved: according to its survey, 346 million Chinese - about a quarter of the country's population - have taken part in winter sports at least once in the past few years.

According to the Chinese winter sports regulator, 803 ski centers and 654 ice arenas were built in the country at the end of 2021, compared to 568 and 157 respectively in 2015 (an increase of 41 and 317%). Local authorities expect the winter and ice sports industry to reach 1 trillion yuan ($157 billion at current exchange rates) by 2025. In 2020, China's winter sports market was valued at 600 billion yuan ($94 billion) in revenue.


1.2 million cubic meters m


How much artificial snow will be produced for the Olympics

The Beijing Olympics will be the first in history to rely almost entirely on artificial snow, as there is very little natural snow in the region. The organizers reported that only the ski center in Yanqing will require 1.2 million cubic meters. m of artificial snow (snow competitions will also be held in Zhangjiakou, while Beijing will host mostly indoor ice events only). By comparison, the 2014 Sochi Olympics relied 80% on artificial snow.

For snow production, Beijing purchased equipment from the Italian TechnoAlpin, which was launched in November 2021. It is estimated that the organizers will need about 223 million liters of water to generate the required amount of snow, which has caused criticism of environmentalists and experts (given that the Games region suffers from a lack of freshwater, and artificial snow creates a risk of additional injuries for athletes due to falls). In Europe, the cost of producing artificial snow is from €3 to €7 per cubic meter, a person working with artificial snow told RBC. But in China, the cost is likely to be much lower: "The climate is conducive - it's cold and the humidity is low, it's easier for them to make volumes in a short time," he said, estimating the cost of producing all the snow needed for the Olympics at $600-700 thousand (excluding secondary costs). such as wages for service personnel).


288 days


How many clean air days were recorded in Beijing in 2021

The Chinese authorities have promised to hold a "green and clean" Olympic Games. In particular, the organizers have stated that the entire sports infrastructure of the Games will run entirely on renewable energy. China has also pledged to improve air quality in Beijing in time for the Olympics, for which local governments have taken a range of measures to reduce pollution from industrial, transport, and domestic sources.

In 2021, the average concentration of fine particulate matter that causes smog in Beijing has dropped to its lowest level since 2013, when the measurements began, Chinese official media reported in early January. During the year, Beijing authorities counted 288 days with "good air quality" (in 2013 there were only 176 such days) and only eight days with heavy pollution.




How much Chinese GDP comes from Beijing

In 2020, Beijing was responsible for the production of 3% of China's total GDP, Bloomberg Economics notes. In 2021, the economy of the Chinese capital grew by 8.5% in real terms and exceeded 4 trillion yuan, or $630 billion, the mayor of Beijing announced in early January. Three economies of Beijing would be enough to receive the entire economic output of Russia (according to the IMF, its GDP in 2021 should be about $1.7 trillion in current prices).

The effects of the Olympics on economic growth will be neutral, according to Bloomberg Economics economist Eric Zhu. Unlike 2008, when Beijing hosted the Summer Olympics, no additional disruption to the city's production is expected this time. And the efforts of local authorities to contain the coronavirus are likely to neutralize any possible stimulus effect of the Olympics, the expert argues.


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