Afterwards, the facilities built for the games often turn into “white elephants” that provide little if any benefit or even lie empty and abandoned. Stadiums built for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil are now severely underutilized to the point where some are being used as parking lots or rented out for children’s birthday parties.
In addition to their negative humanitarian and economic effects, large-scale international sports events are also often used as propaganda showcases by authoritarian host governments, such as China and Vladimir Putin’s Russia. That just adds political insult to economic injury.
The Olympics and the World Cup do not have to be this way. We should be able to showcase the talents of great athletes without spending massive amounts of public money, forcibly displacing people from their homes and businesses, or providing a propaganda forum for dictators. Hopefully, the increasing reluctance of cities to host the games will stimulate the adoption of long-overdue reforms such as funding the Games with private money (as was done with the successful 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles), banning the use of eminent domain and other tactics that forcibly displace residents, and restricting hosting rights to liberal democracies.