Should Baltimore Decline to Bid on 2024 Summer Olympics?

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The 2012 Olympic games have wrapped up in London, and cities across the world are already considering whether to bid to host the 2024 installment. One of those cities is Baltimore. (Heck, I guess there’s plenty of empty space.) Proponents of Baltimore 2024 are dazzled by estimates of $6.7 billion in revenue and the creation of 70,000 jobs. But is coming out on top economically after hosting the gargantuan international event a realistic expectation?

According to a piece in the Baltimore Sun today, the answer is no. The article points to a lack of data regarding the true economic impact of hosting the Olympics, and even argues that it’s possible dumping money into the event could SLOW economic growth. After all, what use will a city have for all of those specialty arenas after the games are over? What if the money put toward building a velodrome and an Olympic shooting range were instead invested in something — anything — the city could actually use?

One thing we do know is that cities tend to underestimate how much the Olympics will cost, by a lot. (London planned to spend $4 billion on the 2012 games and ended up shelling out $15 billion.) Also, tourism can turn out to be a wash as the Olympics tend to drive away almost as much tourism as it attracts.

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