Article 5, Volume 2 Issue 2:

The economics of major sporting events: the case of the Barcelona Olympic games. An overview 25 years later in Spain

Author

Francesc Trillas – (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)

Eloi Serrano – (Tecnocampus, Universitat Pompeu Fabra)

Received April 5, 2016; accepted May 23, 2016.

Abstract

An extensive literature mostly developed after the Barcelona Olympic Games has questioned the existence of net economic benefits arising from the organization (with significant amounts of public resources) of major sporting events such as the Olympics, although some studies still defend their positive impact. Host cities tend to become hostage of the governing bodies organizing the games. The Barcelona Olympic Games were exceptionally successful but still suffered from cost overruns, white elephants and the exaggeration of social benefits as it is usual in many mega sporting events. We report about the socio-political and economic considerations that surrounded the initial project of Barcelona 1992, and we evaluate the uniqueness of these games, including the legacy of infrastructures and sports facilities. Barcelona, a relatively rich city, was emerging from a long centralist dictatorship when the games were initially planned. It had many urban deficits and the games were used as a catalyst to coordinate public and private agents in a complex society that was in a fast process of decentralization. The games had enormous social support. Although it may be argued that the public funds could have been used in alternative projects, it is hard to think that this degree of coordination and support could have been achieved for them.

Una extensa literatura desarrollada principalmente después de los Juegos Olímpicos de Barcelona ha cuestionado la existencia de beneficios económicos netos derivados de la organización (con cantidades significativas de recursos públicos) de grandes eventos deportivos como los Juegos Olímpicos, aunque algunos estudios aún defienden su impacto positivo. Las ciudades anfitrionas tienden a convertirse en rehenes de los órganos de gobierno que organizan los juegos. Los Juegos Olímpicos de Barcelona fueron excepcionalmente exitosos, pero aún sufrieron sobrecostos, elefantes blancos y la exageración de los beneficios sociales, como es habitual en muchos megaeventos deportivos. Informamos sobre las consideraciones sociopolíticas y económicas que rodearon el proyecto inicial de Barcelona 1992, y evaluamos la singularidad de estos juegos, incluido el legado de infraestructuras e instalaciones deportivas. Barcelona, ​​una ciudad relativamente rica, emergía de una larga dictadura centralista cuando los juegos se planificaron inicialmente. Tenía muchos déficits urbanos y los juegos se utilizaron como catalizador para coordinar agentes públicos y privados en una sociedad compleja que estaba en un rápido proceso de descentralización. Los juegos tuvieron un enorme apoyo social. Aunque puede argumentarse que los fondos públicos podrían haberse utilizado en proyectos alternativos, es difícil pensar que este grado de coordinación y apoyo podría haberse logrado para ellos.

Citation

Trillas, F., & Serrano, E. (2016). The Economics of Major Sporting Events: The Case of the Barcelona Olympic Games. An Overview 25 Years Later. European Accounting and Management Review2(2), 77-102.

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