Taxpayers beware: The cost of hosting an Olympics is likely to be far more than advertised.
The price tag on the 2020 Tokyo Olympics has ballooned to nearly twice the initial estimate, even after a major cost-cutting effort.
A major reason is that cities exclude large amounts of associated costs when they submit a bid to host the Olympics.
“Those numbers in the bidding file are almost fiction,” said Shinichi Ueyama, a Japanese public policy expert who led a Tokyo government investigation into the Olympics’ cost.
The bid figures include only the core components, such as the main facilities, so that the bids are easier to compare. Building design, security measures, transportation and other costs are largely excluded.
It is common practice, but taxpayers may not be aware that the bid figures are incomplete, and the actual cost will end up far higher.
Tokyo Olympic organizers said this week that the estimated cost is now 1.4 trillion yen ($12.6 billion). When Tokyo was awarded the Olympics in September 2013, the total was 730 billion yen ($6.6 billion).
The cost of the 2012 London Olympics tripled from a bid estimate of $6.5 billion to $19 billion.