Nothing says "we're a world-class city" like hosting the Olympic Games - but could New Zealand ever do the honours?The most important thing in the above quote is "often not a lot of benefit" bit. The research on hosting events like the Olympics tells us the costs are much greater than the benefits.
Pulling off the world's largest sporting event - whether the Summer or Winter Games - is a lot of hard slog that brings mountains of debt, international criticism, and often not a lot of benefit.
But International Olympic Committee boss Thomas Bach reckons New Zealand has what it takes to play host.
In anticipation of that day arriving, here's a look at the New Zealand cities and councils best equipped to host the Olympics.
In a recent issue of the Journal of Economic Perspectives (Vol. 30, Issue 2 Spring 2016) Robert A. Baade and Victor A. Matheson discuss Going for the Gold: The Economics of the Olympics.
The abstract reads,
In this paper, we explore the costs and benefits of hosting the Olympic Games. On the cost side, there are three major categories: general infrastructure such as transportation and housing to accommodate athletes and fans; specific sports infrastructure required for competition venues; and operational costs, including general administration as well as the opening and closing ceremony and security. Three major categories of benefits also exist: the short-run benefits of tourist spending during the Games; the long-run benefits or the "Olympic legacy" which might include improvements in infrastructure and increased trade, foreign investment, or tourism after the Games; and intangible benefits such as the "feel-good effect" or civic pride. Each of these costs and benefits will be addressed in turn, but the overwhelming conclusion is that in most cases the Olympics are a money-losing proposition for host cities; they result in positive net benefits only under very specific and unusual circumstances. Furthermore, the cost–benefit proposition is worse for cities in developing countries than for those in the industrialized world. In closing, we discuss why what looks like an increasingly poor investment decision on the part of cities still receives significant bidding interest and whether changes in the bidding process of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will improve outcomes for potential hosts. (Emphasis added)So no, New Zealand should never even think about doing something as stupid as trying to host the Olympics.