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The joys of boosterism

A fascinating little boosterist gem from the Standard. First, it reports that Carat, 'one of Britain’s biggest media-buying agencies', says there was no boost in 2012 to advertising from the London Olympics. Well, that's in line with most other results and easy enough to understand. But then, second, we are told Carat expects higher growth in 2013, even though there are no mega events. Third, 2014 should be 'even stronger thanks to the football World Cup'. 'Even stronger'? Why 'even' stronger? 2012 showed no boost so what 'even stronger' growth can 2014 produce? And as the Olympics did not boost advertising in 2012 why should advertising grow in 2014 'thanks' to the World Cup? Fourth, the article rounds off saying Carat thinks 'Brazil and Russia should see double-digit increases as they host the World Cup and Winter Olympics.' London showed no boost in growth despite hosting the Olympics yet Brazil and Russia are expected to show double-digit growth because they are hosting these mega events?


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the budget just went up?

Vision for Victoria Embankment cycle superhighway


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Cuckoo! Swiss say No to Winter Olympics

'No voters rejected bid organisers' claims that Olympic hosting would help tourism in the area and boost the local economy.' Those sensible Swiss from the Graubünden canton have seen through the lies of the Olympics and said no to the Winter Olympics in 2022. Bern voters did the same thing when they refused to bid for the 2010 Winter Olympics.


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A Visa for Sochi 2014

Now it‘s the Russians' turn to ask ‘when is a monopoly not a monopoly?’ When it’s a Visa for the Olympics, stupid!


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Lend Lease's Heygate Olympics

When is a bailout not a bailout? At the recent Heygate CPO hearing Lend Lease, who had to be bailed out by the government over the Athletes’ Village, apparently weren’t happy with this description, ie being bailed out, when they were challenged by objectors. @MichaellondonSF tweeted from the #heygate CPO hearing: ‘Dispute with LendLease about whether govt funding for Athletes' Village had been a bailout’. Others were quite clear that this was indeed a bailout!


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Obesity - an Olympic diet

Obesity in the UK continues to rise. Figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre for 2011 show there has been a marked rise in obesity rates over the past eight years, coinciding with the bid and lead up to London 2012. The HSCIC also raises the alarm about children’s body image, particularly among girls, with hospital admissions up 16% in the last year of the survey.


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Who's Dieter kidding?

Professor in Economics at Oxford and advisor to the European Commission Dieter Helm has added his voice to the Armitt/Labour argument that infrastructure projects should follow the ‘ODA/Olympics’model. Writing in the Financial Times on 1st February 2013 he said:

Delivering infrastructure at scale, on time and on budget is not rocket science. The Olympics showed the way to do it: there was a hard deadline, few losers and government money. What is needed is a set of clear system plans, planning procedures that compensate losers, and brutal honesty about what it is going to cost and who is going to pay. We must stop fretting about government accounting rules and tinkering with project lists and get on with it. Otherwise we will be left on the international sidelines.


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A Lottery of a Legacy!

So what exactly is an Olympic sports legacy? The Government seems to think it is more spectacles of elite sport. George Osborne has decided to waive tax rules to allow Usain Bolt and other top athletes to attend the Grand Prix event to be held at the Olympic Stadium in the summer. He says this is to ‘secure the Olympic Legacy’. Bolt hasn’t yet said he will come. Boris, son of John, has also weighed in with a spectacle of his own, a two day cycling festival to be attended by up to 70,000 including elite cyclists like Wiggo and Trott. Spiffing away Boris said: ‘"Following the superhuman efforts of our Team GB cyclists last year, thousands of cycling enthusiasts, both experienced and amateur, riding a fantastic route through the streets of our fine city is surely a fitting legacy’.

Elsewhere local media are now regularly reporting so-called ‘Olympic Legacy grants’ being made to clubs around the country. Featherstone Rovers Rugby League Club, for example, has been given £50,000 to ‘revamp facilities’. Warlingham Squash and Racketball Club in Surrey has also got £50,000 to make improvements like putting in a boiler and building women’s changing rooms. Several clubs in Northamptonshire are to share £500,000 to do up their facilities. These grants are described as ‘Olympic legacies’. However, it is hard to see what is specifically Olympic about the grants. They are just National Lottery funds which are being distributed by Sport England from a pot of £16.6million from something called the Inspired Facilities Fund.

A couple of sports festivals and a £16.6million fund are not going to make much impression on the present furore surrounding the decline in school sports funding. Far from inspiring a generation London 2012 saw sport participation in the target group of 16 to 25year olds fall.

Nor does it make up for the £2.175billion taken from the National Lottery for the Olympics. This raid on the Lottery included the loss of hundreds of millions of pounds taken from children’s sport in the name of elite sport. Nor has the DCMS repaid the Big Lottery Fund from which it grabbed £638.098million. After over a year of lobbying and a campaign now supported by more than 3,200 charities demanding the return of £425million of the stolen funds it has indicated it may repay £100 to £150million, but not until 2014 at the earliest. Jowell originally promised to repay all the Big Lottery Fund money. The DCMS also say in an attached Freedom of Information response: 'Repayments will not include interest based on inflation'. Most of that is probably lost for good. The rest, of course, will not be repaid at all.

A full rundown of the money taken from the Lottery, which could have been spent on other, better causes was provided in the DCMS Freedom of Information response:

'a total of £2.175 billion of Lottery funding is included in the £9.298bn public sector funding provision for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games…


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