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“Give the World Cup bid a red card”

2010 September 7
by Skip Sauer

That’s the title of co-blogger Dennis Coates’ piece in today’s LA Times.  Dennis may be too proud to call attention to himself by pointing that out here, but I’m not!  Here’s the first paragraph:

This week, officials of FIFA, the world soccer federation, will be visiting the United States to examine America’s bid to host the 2018 or 2022 World Cup, with Los Angeles remaining as one of the potential host cities. The U.S. Bid Committee has touted the tournament as a major moneymaker for the U.S. economy, predicting a financial benefit of up to $5 billion. Such a needed boost sounds too good to be true. Sadly, it is.

Here’s the rest of the story.

4 Responses
  1. Dennis permalink
    September 7, 2010

    Before anyone points it out…I know the Montreal Olympics were in 1976.

    Skip, thanks for the post.

  2. Greg Pinelli permalink
    September 7, 2010

    The world’s “Mega Month Sports Events..” are almost uniformly giant fiscal ratholes that not only don’t make money..they lose incredible gobs of it. Individual, one off Championships…Champions League Final, Super Bowl, NCAA Final Four..are site limited, over subscribed, have already sunk transportation and infrastructure costs…and huge 1 time television audiences.
    The World Cup is almost as bad as the Olympics..they certainly get the Silver Medal. Let us count the ways…

    1. Soccer fans are cheap..and cause trouble. A very bad combination..especially since the kind of trouble they cause isn’t likely handled by traffic cops or stadium ushers. Specially trained law enforcement..beginning with Interpol and moving thru International travel security agencies right down to local SWAT teams and bomb/IED/MIBIED units..have to be on constant alert and 24 hr rotating duty.

    2. Now comes the best part! The stadiums..enormous money pits..literally. In So. Africa Unions had to be bought off to finish these palaces on time..they cost a fortune to manage during the event..and are hugely expensive community appendages that book few real money dates afterwards..Ever wonder what it costs to simply keep a World Class pitch up for a month? Including equipment expensing, materials, labor and irrigation..tens of thousands of dollars..and we haven’t even dusted the seats yet.

    The upshot…it’s an event where the benefits are privatized by politicians and special interest groups (of which FIFA are masters) and socialized to the schmuck taxpayers…….sound familiar????

  3. Stef Szymanski permalink
    September 8, 2010

    Great article, Dennis – as ever it is not the fact that hosting these events is costly that is the real problem, but the failure by governments, FIFA and the IOC to conduct an open and transparent process.

    In fact the World Cup should be much less costly than the Olympics for developed nations because all of the required stadiums exist and need only minor upgrades. There’s no Olympic village to build, no specialist facilities and because the event is dispersed there is less pressure on existing transport infrastructure. Surely the most striking thing about economic impact is that $5 billion is a drop in the ocean of a $15 trillion economy? That said, why should taxpayers pay a penny toward a self evidently profitable private venture?

  4. Shannon permalink
    September 10, 2010

    Don’t forget peer pressure and shame. Americans are too stupid to “get” that sport. We even call it by the wrong name. But YOUR city (whichever that is) is smarter than the rest of the yahoos out there, and YOUR city will get the international exposure and ties and economic boon yadda yadda, and you’ll get to lead the way (ooh ooh!) into the future! Lots of cities in the US would chomp at that particular bit.

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