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The Olympic effect – Chicago Lost, but Chicago tourism strikes gold

The Olympic effect – Chicago Lost, but Chicago tourism strikes gold

Chicago has been eliminated in the first round in it’s bid to host the 2016 Olympics, inspite of a spirited team effort by the Chicago delegation – including President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. But there may still be a consolation prize in something called the Olympic Effect.

A study conducted by Andrew K. Rose earlier this year concluded that the unsuccessful bidders get a boost equivalent to that of the winning bidder, in terms of a permanent boost in trade and commerce.

Here’s the relevant excerpt from the study – “It implies that the (sizeable) effect on trade seems to come not from actually hosting the games but from being a country that bids for them. More generally, signaling that the country is capable and willing to host the Olympics through a highly visible international bid for a mega-event seems to be associated with a sizeable trade-expanding effect on trade. Indeed, the effect of sending this signal seems broadly comparable in size to actually hosting the games.”

Translation is that simply by putting up a fierce bid to host the Olympics, Chicago has already made whatever significant and permanent gains that were there to be had from the enterprise.


And considering that no Olympics has ever had a net positive in terms of profits, not to mention the risk of debt and scandal, it may actually not be such a bad thing to be a losing candidate in this case.

On the positive side, the bid committee has cooked up some really great plans for improving Chicago’s infrastructure and facilities for visitors. These studies would otherwise have never even been commissioned.

If Chicago can take some of the still feasible elements of the plan and manage to implement them, then there’s even more gain to be had from this unsuccessful bid.

As far as Chicago Tourism is concerned, the bid’s attendant publicity, the beautification plans, and the overall effect of the Olympic Effect means that they already have struck gold.
Photo courtesy Chicago 2016