The Economics of Major Sporting Events: The Case of the Barcelona Olympic Games. An Overview 25 Years Later

European Accounting and Management Review, 2016, 2(2), 77-102.

Posted: 22 Dec 2016  

Francesc Trillas

Autonomous University of Barcelona - Department of Economics; University of Navarra - IESE Business School

Eloi Serrano

Independent

Date Written: May 23, 2016

Abstract

An extensive literature mostly developed after the Barcelona Olympic Games has questioned the existence of net economic benefits arising from the organization (with significant amounts of public resources) of major sporting events such as the Olympics, although some studies still defend their positive impact. Host cities tend to become hostage of the governing bodies organizing the games. The Barcelona Olympic Games were exceptionally successful but still suffered from cost overruns, white elephants and the exaggeration of social benefits as it is usual in many mega sporting events. We report about the socio-political and economic considerations that surrounded the initial project of Barcelona 1992, and we evaluate the uniqueness of these games, including the legacy of infrastructures and sports facilities. Barcelona, a relatively rich city, was emerging from a long centralist dictatorship when the games were initially planned. It had many urban deficits and the games were used as a catalyst to coordinate public and private agents in a complex society that was in a fast process of decentralization. The games had enormous social support. Although it may be argued that the public funds could have been used in alternative projects, it is hard to think that this degree of coordination and support could have been achieved for them.

Keywords: Olympic Games, Barcelona, Economics, History, Major Sport Events

JEL Classification: M00

Suggested Citation

Trillas, Francesc and Serrano, Eloi, The Economics of Major Sporting Events: The Case of the Barcelona Olympic Games. An Overview 25 Years Later (May 23, 2016). European Accounting and Management Review, 2016, 2(2), 77-102.. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2888795

Francesc Trillas Jané (Contact Author)

Autonomous University of Barcelona - Department of Economics ( email )

Avda. Diagonal 690
Barcelona, 08034
Spain

University of Navarra - IESE Business School

Avenida Pearson 21
Barcelona, 08034
Spain

Eloi Serrano

Independent ( email )

No Address Available

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