Paul Gilham/Getty Images

Un mito económico de proporciones olímpicas

NORTHAMPTON – Según la leyenda olímpica, ser anfitrión de los Juegos constituye un gran beneficio económico para la ciudad y el país elegidos. En realidad, resulta más frecuente que los Juegos sean un despilfarro, algo que Río de Janeiro está descubriendo.

En primer lugar, consideremos la forma en que se asignan los  Juegos a una ciudad. El Comité Olímpico internacional (COI), un monopolio global no regulado, lleva adelante una subasta bianual donde las ciudades del mundo compiten entre sí para demostrar su idoneidad. Los ejecutivos de las empresas —frecuentemente, del sector de la construcción— que se beneficiarían con la preparación de los  Juegos suelen liderar el proceso de licitación de las ciudades candidatas. Entre otras cosas, las ciudades ofrecen espléndidos lugares deportivos, ostentosos espacios ceremoniales, redes de transporte recién construidas, lujosos alojamientos para los atletas, y centros de medios y difusión.

El resultado de este proceso es predecible: las ciudades ganadoras suelen ofertar por encima de sus posibilidades. El coste de alojar las Olimpiadas de verano en la actualidad va de 15 000 millones a 20 000 millones de USD, que incluyen la construcción y renovación de las instalaciones, las operaciones y la seguridad, y la infraestructura adicional. Los ingresos totales para la ciudad anfitriona derivados de su participación en los contratos televisivos internacionales (aproximadamente el 25 %, ya que el 75 % restante va al COI), patrocinios internacionales y locales, ventas de entradas y objetos de interés es de 3500 millones a 4500 millones de USD. En otras palabras, los costes superan cómodamente a los ingresos por unos 10 000 millones de USD o más.

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