Summary of Does hosting a World Cup make economic sense?

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Does hosting a World Cup make economic sense? summary


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Conventional wisdom says that large-scale events, such as the Olympic Games or the World Cup, confer economic sparkle to host cities and countries. The truth is a bit different, as outlays for these extravaganzas tend to far outweigh their benefits, saddling hosts with debt and limited purpose structures that become monuments to excess. The World Economic Forum’s Stefan Hall cautions that leaders should consider long-term costs versus short-term gains. getAbstract recommends this engaging read to tax-paying sports fans around the world.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why hosting the World Cup or the Olympics may not be prudent for an economy,
  • How history supports this contention, and
  • What value cities and countries may derive from holding such grand-scale events.

About the Author

Stefan Hall is with the Information and Entertainment System Initiative at the World Economic Forum.



Holding a World Cup would appear to be a good investment: Boosters promise an increase in tourism, the launch of large-scale infrastructure projects and the heightened visibility of the host city and country as good venues in which to conduct business. Russian officials estimate the economic impact from the 2018 World Cup to be as great as $30.8 billion by 2023. However, the costs of such events typically exceed the benefits. Stadiums are expensive to build, taking up a limited supply of valuable real estate. Additionally, their infrequent use fails to justify their ongoing maintenance. Money spent on athletes’ villages or sporting arenas could instead go toward projects that bring longer-term increases in living standards.

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