Holy Cross Economics Professor Is Sought-After Expert on Costs and Benefits of Hosting the Olympic Games

Victor Matheson, professor of economics. Photo by Tom Rettig

NBCLX | Nikkei Asian Review | South China Morning Post | The Economist

With the 2021 Olympic Games around the corner, Holy Cross professor of economics Victor Matheson has been a sought-after expert on the financial costs and benefits of hosting the Olympic Games, providing expert commentary in outlets around the globe ranging from South China Morning Post to The Economist.

Matheson, a sports economist specializing in "mega-sporting events" who has authored a study on the economic impact of the Olympics on host cities, believes that, "in most cases, the Olympics are a money-losing proposition."

"The overwhelming evidence from sports economists suggests that money spent on venues is not an investment that has significant returns," Matheson tells South China Morning Post. "All of these big facilities don't have a use for afterward, because the Olympics has so many specialized events that people don't generally participate in."

And while some argue that any potential economic and social disruptions in Tokyo could be largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the postponement of the 2020 Olympics, according to Matheson, "the economic disaster that's unfolding in Tokyo was happening way before COVID."

"The pandemic...probably made the Olympics $5 billion worse off for Tokyo, but that only means that the deficit has gone from $15 billion to $20 billion. The vast majority of the economic problems associated with this year's Summer Games was already baked into the cake before a single case of COVID."

Relevant Coverage:

NBCLX, July 21

Nikkei Asian Review, July 21

South China Morning Post, July 21

The Economist, July 22