SportsProf

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Thursday, June 09, 2005

Paris in 2012?

The Sports Economist has an excellent (and at times, hilarious) post on why Paris, the capital of one of the U.S.'s main allies, France, should get the 2012 Summer Olympic games.

I take more of the "Field of Schemes" approach, which may well tick off some of my blogger friendly acquaintances, such as former Olympian "Now That's Amateur", in that cities should be very wary of wanting to host the Olympics. I never have believed its wise for New York City to push so hard for the games or to build a stadium on the west side of Manhattan, and it will be interesting to see if Parisians flock to support this move the way they have flocked to support EuroDisney. And not make it a Mickey Mouse operation in the process.

If the French really want the games, let them have them, and let's wish them the best. Properly executed, the Olympics are a lot of fun to watch, and Paris is a beautiful city. Somehow, I don't think that staging an excellent Olympics is as simple as selecting a city and then wishing for good things to happen. Still, the way the French govern and go about doing things, it will be fun to watch them go about putting together their plans should they get awarded the games.

And watch out for a labor strike or two right around the time of the games.

6 Comments:

Blogger Amateur said...

Trolling for comments? That's low ... I've posted quite a few comments over at The Sports Economist and a few things at Now THAT's Amateur too.

It is hard to argue that there is a real economic benefit to a city that hosts the Olympics. Mind you, it doesn't HAVE to be that way. If there was more emphasis on the sport and less emphasis on the spectacle, then I think that some cities could host Olympic games very efficiently. For example, what would be wrong with returning to Syndey, or Barcelona? But that's not the current reality. It's almost designed to be as expensive as possible.

There is, however, an economic benefit to national Olympic committees, since usually they convince governments to pick up most of the expense (the venue construction). That can have a big positive impact on amateur sport, and that's one of the intangible benefits of hosting. If you don't think that sport should ever be publicly subsidized, then you won't agree with me.

Finally, I have written several times that I don't think the US had much chance of winning the 2012 bid, stadium or not. The USOC should not have pursued it. And the NYC2012 bid was at best poorly executed and at worst a sham to get a new football stadium. I think that the refusal of the stadium was the right decision for the people of New York.

1:21 PM  
Blogger SportsProf said...

Thanks, Amateur. I wasn't trolling for comments as much as I was trying to start a discussion on this point. I agree with your main premise that the Olympics should emphasize sport over spectacle. I am one of those somewhat frugal people who believe that events should pay for themselves, so I don't like out-of-the-ordinary public debt for events like these. I do believe that there should be some public subsidy for amateur athletics, but, as with many other things, within reason. Right now, for example, U.S. cities are still funding after school sports but cutting back (sometimes severely) on public libraries, which, in many poor neighborhoods,provide the only oasis for young kids desperate to study and to advance. Those are very hard choices, but I'd rather see New York spend the money on its libraries and infrastructure than a stadium on the city's west side.

11:07 PM  
Blogger Amateur said...

I was only kidding!

I think we see eye-to-eye on this, for the most part. Hosting an Olympic Games does not need to be so expensive, and should (if managed properly) stand a good chance of paying for itself... but the way it's currently done it would be almost impossible.

9:34 AM  
Anonymous sportsbiz said...

I agree that I would rather see New York spend the money on it all too many needs than on the Olympics and now that the West Side Stadium has been shot down, there is a better chance of that happening. The Olympics don't have to be a money, loser even in today's climate, if managed properly. NYC probably has a better chance to make money than any city in the world given its status as the home of more multinationals headquarters than any others. It could draw on the media and Olympic sponsors located there to make the project a financial success, and indeed this was at the heart of the NYC 2012 bid.

Nevertheless, the sheer magnitude of the investment that would have to be made (Olympic Stadium aside) would necessarily short change many of New York's other needs.

My other quibble with your post is your reference to France as one of our oldest allies. In my view, France has long been one of oldest antagonists who masquerades as an ally but can always be counted on to oppose everything the US attempts to accomplish in any sphere it participates in. This dates all the way back to the Revolution when Lafayette had to come to America on his own without the backing of the King, who, while always looking for a way to thwart England was jsutifiably afraid of the symbolic nature of the Revolution.

11:05 AM  
Blogger SportsProf said...

Sportsbiz: I was just kidding about France (I guess my humor wasn't as transparent as I thought it was). I don't think that France is one of the U.S.'s main allies at all. I honestly thought I was tweaking the French, who have more red tape than anyone, but who at times can think that they know better than everyone about everything. Paris is a beautiful city, though, and perhaps the French can pull it off. Then again, there could be a national labor strike the week before the games that paralyzes everything.

Au revoir.

4:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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Ha ha ha -- France lost!!!!
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Ha ha ha -- France lost!!!!
Ha ha ha -- France lost!!!!
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Sweet justice!

12:13 PM  

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