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Olympic candidacy - a questionable venture?

An abandoned bob run: major sports events frequently fail to produce the hoped-for boost to development. © Julian-Nitzsche/pixelio.de

Forecasts estimate that the 2022 Winter Olympics in Switzerland will cost 4.5 billion Swiss francs - or, as experience shows, even more. Is it worth it? In March 2013 the citizens of Graubünden will go to the polls to decide.
The idea is to stage sustainable games in Switzerland, if possible on real snow, with short transits and events that use existing facilities. This is the promise of those pushing for the 2022 Winter Olympics to be held in St. Moritz and Davos.
Now the costs are out in the open: calculated outlays of 2.8 billion francs - some 2.3 billion euros - can be set against forecast revenues of 1.5 billion francs from TV coverage rights, sponsorship deals and ticket sales. This means a financing gap of 1.3 billion francs, with the Swiss government paying one billion francs towards this. If infrastructure costs of 1.7 billion francs are included, the costs of staging the Winter Olympics in Switzerland will amount to 4.5 billion francs, not including the costs of candidacy which total 60 million francs.
These high costs are justified on the grounds of image promotion and economic benefits. Residents of the canton of Graubünden are being tempted to vote for the candidacy by the promise of the early realisation of infrastructure projects such as traffic system developments. They vote to decide on 3 March 2013.
No Olympic Games has ever been kept within budget. It is also an open question as to whether the IOC (International Olympic Committee) even likes these "white" winter games. And what if, in ten years, global warming puts a stop to the whole business? Even if Switzerland does not win the bid, claim the proponents, these sums nevertheless represent a good investment as image promotion for Switzerland.
Source and further information: www.news.admin.ch/dokumentation/00002/00015, www.gr.ch/IT/media/Comunicati/MMStaka/2012 (it), www.umwelt-graubuenden.ch/ (de), www.nzz.ch/aktuell/schweiz (de), www.videoportal.sf.tv (de)