The Numbers Behind the Olympics

TL;DR (2-minute read)

  • Currently, China leads the world with the most gold medals, with 7 more than the US. Ironically, America leads the world and surpasses China by 7 medals in terms of the most total medals (gold, silver, bronze).
  • The 2021 Olympics in Tokyo is set to be the most expensive Olympics of all time.
  • The cost of the Olympics is over $20 billion, but Tokyo will only make less than $6.7 billion back.
  • For comparison, the last Summer Olympics in Rio De Janeiro cost $13 billion and made $11.6 billion back in revenues.

The 2021 Olympics are underway in Tokyo, Japan with China leading in the number of gold medals and the United States leading in the number of total medals won. As most people would have imagined, the Olympics are heavily affected by the Coronavirus. Not only are there no spectators allowed, but aspects on the financial side of the Olympics have also been different than the previous Olympics. 

Top 10 Rankings of Countries in all sports (Olympics)

The 2021 Olympics are to be the costliest Olympics of all time and it said that the spending added up to a total of over $20 billion. This is much higher than the $6.7 billion the Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games (OCOG) projected the revenue would be. What’s even worse is that the projected revenue included the money that would be made from fans ordering tickets. The OCOG estimated that the Olympics will lose around $800 million due to the no fans rule, about 11.9% of the previously projected revenue. For comparison, the last Summer Olympics, the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, cost about $13 billion and collected about $11.6 billion in revenue. 

National Stadium in Tokyo, Japan, where the Opening Ceremony took place (AP News)

The Tokyo Olympics also have many sponsors, both international and domestic. Although domestic sponsors have contributed $3 billion to the Olympics, the most ever by domestic sponsors, the Olympics still stated that it wasn’t enough money. Most of this money from the domestic sponsorships came from Toyota, who helped give almost $1 billion. The companies can typically send executives to ceremonies and the games, but a lot of companies stated that they won’t be doing that this year due to COVID-19. Furthermore, sponsorship tickets for employees aren’t allowed this year either because there is no audience allowed. 


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