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The Price of 2004 Olympics

The preparation and the hosting of the Olympics itself can represent a heavy burden to the country which has taken the responsibility of organizing them.

The host of the 2004 Olympics was Greece, which met the good news with great readiness, since the country has not hosted the Olympics for 98 years. Some even argue that the time period was actually 108 years since the Olympics from the 1906 had no official status.

As a result, the Greek economy suffered from $10 to $12 billion in terms of expenses. This amount represents approximately 5% of the country's GDP!

Security Measures

One of the major factors that led to the incurred high costs of organizing and hosting the 2004 Olympics was the required high security measures, which were needed after the terrorist attacks of 9/11. As a result the expenses surrounding the security measures amounted to approximately $1.5 billion. The new security measures included such implementations as the photographing of people's faces, the deduction of the numbers of cell phones from all over the city and the interception of phone calls. Additionally, more than 400,000 troops were spread across the northern border of Greece in order to ensure against illegal entry by foreign citizens.

Some of the sources for covering the incurred expenses have been television rights, ticket sales and corporate sponsorship. For example, NBC expected to net a record $1 billion from ad sales during the coverage of the 2004 Olympics. However, it paid approximately $800 million to purchase the rights for broadcasting the Olympics. Many countries were discouraged from broadcasting the Olympics by the high charge for television rights, like Indonesia for example. But as you can imagine more is needed to cover the incurred cost of $12 billion.

Ticket Sales

The sale of tickets did not meet the expectations of the organizers. This can be explained by the low interest among the Greeks themselves. Additionally, the delay in the construction of the facilities also contributed to the low levels of ticket sales, which has resulted in 3.1 million of the 5.3 million tickets remaining unsold.

The new sports facilities that are left after the Olympics require regular maintenance, which leads to further expenses that come out of the pocket of the Greek taxpayers.

Was it worth the headache?

Most Greek politicians argue that it was worth hosting the 2004 Olympics, since the expenses surrounding the organization will be covered by ticket sales and long-term tourist dollars. Unfortunately, the costs of hosting the Olympics has risen sufficiently since the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics and are expected to keep up with this trend. Since then, every country has managed to break even or make a small profit out of the hosting, but with the case of the 2004 Olympics, breaking even is hard to believe by even the most optimistic people.

The 2008 Olympics will be hosted by China, which has already prepared $23 billion for the organizing the event!

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