One of my relatives, a UK-based small business owner, has argued for some time that the London Olympics would come to represent a ballooning cost burden for taxpayers and the reality of just what it will take to host the Games sets in. “Add two zeroes to those estimates” he argued when the city won the initial bid.
Well, it sure is starting to look as though the events are going to be a lot more expensive than was originally planned. According to one article I found on the topic, the costs admitted to so far look something like this:
2005: £2.4 billion later revised upward to £3.3 billion
2007: £9.3 billion, including a contingency fund of £2.7billion.
2009: £12.9 billion
Indeed, another highly critical article calls the financing story an “Olympic Sized Overspend”.
It’s a familiar pattern—initial optimistic projections fail to survive contact with reality. By the time more accurate information comes in, the spending decisions are made. Some pundits have even suggested that the UK could be looking at a £20 billion price tag before the final reckoning has been done.