The big story in Chicago this morning, where I’m on WLS, is Mayor Daley signing the Olympic funding guarantee yesterday, putting taxpayers on the hook for the cost of the 2016 games (if they’re awarded to to the city).
I don’t understand why cities fall in love with the idea of hosting the Olympics. They never make money. In fact, they lose money — lots of it. Every Summer Olympics in the last two decades has lost huge amounts of money, and so will the next few. The 2012 games in London were originally estimated to cost $4.9 billion, but that has now shot up to $13.5 billion, meaning the “experts” were only off by eight and a half billion dollars, with two years still to go.
The Olympics may be fun to watch on TV, but when they’re in your town, they mean incredible amounts of congestion and hassles, with little long-term return. The whole event takes less than a month, and when the Olympians exit after the closing ceremony, you’re not left with anything you didn’t have already. Chicago doesn’t need new sports facilities, they don’t need the lakefront closed down for months at a time, and they don’t need the expenses that will never be recouped.Let’em go somewhere else. We’ll watch the next Michael Phelps from the comfort of our home, for free.
Here’s what Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass had to say when we talked about it this morning on WLS…