Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Cranney's late post (classic)

I have a hard time believing any President has had a vested interest in sports other than the opportunity to appeal to young/blue collar voters. I don't understand why Barack Obama has been hailed as a "sports president," when he's clearly one of the least athletic presidents in recent memory.

I'll never forget his bowling posture during the 2008 election, nor the first pitch he threw out in a White Sox/Nationals game that went 10 feet up the first baseline. He likes basketball, and his appeal to young voters as a "cool guy" lends itself well to the idea that he has an interest in sports.

But one of the finer points of the Green article is that almost every president has been hailed as a "sports president." Just in the past decade, I have a hard time taking Obama over Bush as a sports president. Just look at the first pitch Bush threw out (from the rubber) in that post-9/11 game and compare that to Obama's. One of the two was a constitutional law professor, the other owned the Texas Rangers. Discrepancy, eh?

The EURO 2008 article is an interesting case study in the effects large sporting events can have on a small economic market. I learned about the economic benefits that a large sporting event can have on city in a sports economics class I took last year.

In the case of the Olympics, there's an interesting history of cities overspending to get rights to host the games, and the IOC taking advantage of it. Prior to the 1984 games, cities overspent to convince the IOC to allow them to host the Olympics, such as building stadiums to host the games. Montreal, for example, spent $3 billion to host the 1976 events, and it took the city 30 years to pay off the debt.

As a result of cities spending so much, Los Angeles was the only city to offer a bid for the 1984 games. Since the IOC had no other choice, it gave L.A. the upper hand. The city used existing facilities and it was the first Olympics to have official sponsorships. As a result, the L.A. Organizing Committee made a profit of more than $230 million.

Cities then recognized the potential economic benefit that the Olympics can have, and bids for the Olympics have become more ridiculous by the year. Athens spent $12 billion on 2004 games and China spent $40 billion on the 2008 games.

The IOC has used this leverage it has over cities to provide more elaborate facilities, luxurious accommodations for IOC officials and even payments to IOC officials.

All because of the economic events of a large sporting event, such as EURO 2008, has on a city.

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