Sports organisers routinely claim that mega-events have a large impact on host economies. For example, the consulting firm Grant Thornton South Africa initially predicted 483,000 international visitors for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. The firm revised its figures downward multiple times.
Academic economists have generally been quite critical of the economic impact estimates of mega-events that have been published by event organisers. There is a clear conflict of interest for a sporting organisation to publish an economic impact study when that organisation will be using any estimated economic gains as bargaining chip for the host government to supply large taxpayer subsidies for the event. Can one trust the economic impact estimates published by an organisation that has a strong vested interest in the size of those very same estimates?

The paper ‘Tourism and the 2010 World Cup: Lessons for Developing Countries’ in Journal of African Economies found that the visitor numbers for the 2010 World Cup were far lower than the organisers predictions and imply that the total cost per extra non-SADC visitor amounted to $13,000.
Image credit: World Cup 2010 Denmark V Cameroon by Eustaquio Santimano. Creative Commons via Flickr.

Sports organisers routinely claim that mega-events have a large impact on host economies. For example, the consulting firm Grant Thornton South Africa initially predicted 483,000 international visitors for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. The firm revised its figures downward multiple times.

Academic economists have generally been quite critical of the economic impact estimates of mega-events that have been published by event organisers. There is a clear conflict of interest for a sporting organisation to publish an economic impact study when that organisation will be using any estimated economic gains as bargaining chip for the host government to supply large taxpayer subsidies for the event. Can one trust the economic impact estimates published by an organisation that has a strong vested interest in the size of those very same estimates?

The paper ‘Tourism and the 2010 World Cup: Lessons for Developing Countries’ in Journal of African Economies found that the visitor numbers for the 2010 World Cup were far lower than the organisers predictions and imply that the total cost per extra non-SADC visitor amounted to $13,000.

Image credit: World Cup 2010 Denmark V Cameroon by Eustaquio Santimano. Creative Commons via Flickr.