Why hosting the Olympics is bad business

Since the Barcelona Games in 1992, which went over budget by a mind-numbing 417%, it seemed as if countries had wised up. After ’92, successive countries gradually got closer and closer to hitting their projected numbers. China got the closest when it held the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, only going over budget by 4%.

But this year is different. The London Olympics are on track to become the most over-budgeted Games since ‘96 — and the costliest ever, at $14.8 billion…

While London is one of the world’s most developed cities, East London is not, and that’s where most of the Olympic venues have been built. So far, it does appear that the city has realized that many former Olympic sites start quickly collecting dust once the games end. Athens’ Olympic Park is now a ghost town. Beijing’s Bird’s Nest, a 91,000-seat venue that wowed the globe, has become a temporary man-made ski slope and a mildly popular tourist destination. But mostly, it’s an enormous structure that China has no idea what to do with.