Contact Us

How Much Does It Cost to Host the Olympics? — Dollars and Sense

Getty Images

Cities that vie to host the Olympics know being chosen involves a big cash outlay to make the events happen in the grand fashion expected.

But just how much money is involved?

London, which is hosting the upcoming summer festivities, will drop a cool $40 million, but that still falls shy of the $43 million Beijing spent in 2008.

Hosting the Games isn’t cheap, but cities recoup much of their investment in advertising revenues and tourist dollars. And it doesn’t just last for the duration of the events — for years afterward, host cities and countries often continue to promote themselves as such to keep the money flowing.

That said, while the venues typically built for Olympic events can continue to be used long after everyone goes home, sometimes cities find they have no use for them or that the cost of maintaining them outweighs any income they might generate. Other cities have much lower initial costs because the necessary infrastructure is already in place.

Fortune recently reviewed the money shelled out by host locales since 1988, taking into account both public and private costs, legacy, and infrastructure investments. Here’s how much the cities spent (or estimate they’ll spend), from highest to lowest. Note all Games listed are for the Summer Olympics.

1. Beijing (2008) – $43 billion
2. London (2012) – $40 billion
3. Barcelona (1992) – $15 billion
4. Athens (2004) – $14 billion
5. Seoul (1988) – $8 billion
6. Atlanta (1996) – $7 billion
7. Sydney (2000) – $5 billion
8. Los Angeles (1984) – $1 billion


Best of 1470 KYYW

Recommended For You

Best of the Web

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

*Please note that your prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing VIP profile. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to using your original account information.

*Please note that your prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

(Forgot your password?)

Not a member? Sign up here

Sign up for All Access VIPs quickly by connecting your Facebook account. It's just as secure and no password to remember!

Sign up to have exclusive All Access VIPs contests, events, coupons, presales, and much more delivered to you for FREE.