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Olympic glory - but was it worth it?

Thursday, December 27, 2012 - 02:46

Dec.27 - The London 2012 Games got underway when Britain was in the midst of recession and with the official cost to the taxpayer of around 9bn pounds, its coalition government wanted the London Olympics to provide more than world records, were they rewarded? Hayley Platt reports

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From a sporting point of view it was Britain's most successful Olympics for a century. Team GB won 65 medals and a life time of cherished memories. But at a time of tough austerity was it worth it financially?. London 2012 cost UK tax payers £9bln pounds - that's 360 pounds each. The venues cost the best part of 7 billion pounds to build. And the security alone was more than 550 million. ` Theatres, tourist venues and even hotels also lost money as visitors focussed on the event at the expense of London's other attractions. At a time when the UK is trying to eliminate its structural deficit some say we shouldn't expect too much. David Jones from IG Markets. SOUNDBITE: David Jones, Markets Analyst, IG Markets, saying (English): "There was a study done by the University of Michigan looking at various Olympic events over the decade and none of them has really delivered a significant financial boost. Even the Bank of England came out just a couple of months ago and said we're not factoring in any Olympic effect into our figures looking forward." But the Games did make significant amounts of cash. More than 10,000 athletes visited from 204 countries - along with their support teams, families and friends. And almost 11 million tickets were sold - far more than expected - raising around 660m pounds. 750m came from sponsorship - deals were made with more than 40 companies. And combined with ticket sales that meant London organisers hit their target of raising 2.4bln - the core cost of putting on the world's largest sporting event. The UK government believes the economy will benefit to the tune of 13 billion pounds from the sale of constructions and increased tourism . Justin Urquhart Stewart from Seven Investment Management agrees there were big benefits. SOUNDBITE: Justin Urquhart Stewart, Managing Director, saying (English): "You only have to look back at the gross domestic product figures and it looked as though there was boost there to actually drag it out of its double dip. Then of course there was a slightly softer issues in terms of actual peoples attitudes and tourism and in terms of how some trade improved as well but that was very difficult to try and measure." And then there's the factors you can't put a price on. SOUNDBITE: Justin Urquhart Stewart, Justin, saying (English): "What was fascinating was to evaluate the British attitude before hand which was one of undying cynicism that it's bound to go wrong at some stage and to one afterwards, to 'well we're quite good at doing this' so I think it was a very positive attitude." The full extent of the economic impact from London 2012 may not be known for a decade. But those preparing for Rio can take comfort from the fact that staging an Olympics can create a feel-good-factor no amount of money can buy.

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Olympic glory - but was it worth it?

Thursday, December 27, 2012 - 02:46

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