Essay 1 – Hosting sports events causes more problems than benefits.

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  • Complexity/Simplicity of argument
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Today, we see a world driven by a fanatic enthusiasm for sports. Whether it is the football fields or the cricket pitch, or even the spectator stands, we find that passion and love for the game is overwhelming. The craze around sports makes sporting events international extravaganzas and we find nations across the globe bidding to host them. This leads us to believe that sporting events bring about huge benefits to a nation, however we ignore the underlying countless problems which inevitably accompany the hosting rights. This essay will examine why hosting a sporting event, despite its claimed advantages, is largely a problem to the host country.

It is claimed, mostly by non-economists, that hosting sporting events result in the economic growth of the nation. Nations hosting major sporting events receive funds from international organisations like the International Olympic Committee, which are channelled into the renovation of the country in order to prepare it adequately for the approaching event. New projects inject money into the economy, thus stimulating it. Also with the international interest in the event, host countries may become tourist attractions, thus boosting hospitality and tourism industries. This is supposed to generate more jobs, greater income and better standards of living. However, this is a myopic view. The reality is hosting main sporting events is a major economic gamble. The sums received from international bodies are negligible given the scale of investment required and host nations have to pump in huge sums themselves. More often than not, the returns are insufficient to cover the costs. Greece, for example, spent US$15 billion (twice the estimated amount) on the 2004 Olympics and this overspending which was unavoidable given the importance of the event, has in no small part, nudged Greece into a financial abyss.  The benefits from tourism are short-term especially if the tourism industry was small to begin with, lasting only for the duration of the event. Thus, given the economic costs plus uncertainties, the sporting events create more problems than benefits for a country.

Another claimed benefit is that sporting events lead to development of a country’s infrastructure which benefits locals in the long run. In order to hold a successful event, governments invest heavily in transport and communication networks, hotels and sporting arenas, among others. An example is India where massive construction is being carried out in New Delhi at an unprecedented scale for the upcoming Commonwealth games. Opponents argue that locals will benefit from this infrastructure development in the long run. However, this is not necessarily the case as the investment is mostly channelled in specific areas, namely building state-of-the-art stadiums, luxury hotels and airports only in major cities hosting the event. Locals who mostly belong to middle-income families do not avail or benefit from these expensive facilities. Even in the long run, countries struggle to maintain these stadiums and buildings which grow redundant after the event, a sheer waste of resources. China still spends billions on ‘The Nest’ which serves no practical purpose today. Also regular businesses are upset as a huge amount of manpower is directed towards sporting events. New construction requires demolishing or relocating existing houses and offices, and often people are not compensated adequately. This breeds discontent among the locals and antagonism against the building authorities and the government.  Transport systems and traffic are also disrupted. Thus it is clear that sporting events create significant problems and practically negligible benefits for the locals.

Moreover, optimists claim that host nations, in spending enormous sums of money on their sporting facilities and sportsmen, thus improve the standard of sports in the country. The interest stimulated in sports in the country also helps in producing competent sporting talents in the future. While this may be true to a certain extent, the opportunity cost of investing in sports is huge. The inordinate funds spent on sports could be used instead to fund social programmes like education and healthcare which are pressing concerns. This is especially true of developing nations like India where income disparity is alarming and given limited government resources, diverting resources to sporting events will widen this income gap. Thus, as the benefits of sporting events are not spread evenly, they are a problem in the long run.

Finally, a major reason why nations bid for hosting rights is to gain international recognition to boost national pride. Sporting events are turned into a flamboyant display of a country’s economic, sporting and political might, and governments assume this will glorify the country’s international image. A perfect example is China which used 2008 Olympics to show the world that it had ‘arrived’. However, China’s Olympic success required colossal planning, something which all nations are not capable of. Sporting events, given the celebrities, huge crowds and media interest, are favourite targets of terrorists. A terrorist attack like the Munich Massacre in the Munich Olympics of 1972 can ruin a country’s image forever. Moreover, accidents in major sporting events, like the recent death of Georgian lunger, Nodar Kumaritashvili, in the Vancouver Winter Olympics, cause huge and often irreversible damage to a country’s reputation. Thus host countries face huge concerns in terms of vulnerability to terrorism and ensuring safety. Also, even if the event is a success, host countries may not be able to escape negative publicity, especially if they have skeletons in their closet. Intense media attention on the 2008 Beijing Olympics, unfortunately placed China’s human right abuses, internal dissent and strict censorship policies under greater international scrutiny and oppobrium than before. Thus major sporting events have a huge propensity of tarnishing a country’s image, thus bringing more harm than good.

As is evident, hosting sporting events has both its pros and cons; it depends on the individual country to decide whether it is capable of handling such a difficult responsibility.  A country which is still struggling with its economy and grappling with its international image and relations should not consider sporting events as an easy way out as there is a huge likelihood of things going wrong. Instead, only when a country is sure of its capacity to weather any storms hosting sporting events might bring, should it compete in the bidding race. Till then, it is better to patiently wait its turn.


10 Responses to Essay 1 – Hosting sports events causes more problems than benefits.

  1. monstert says:

    09S420 Kai Ling

    The structure is appropriate and I see the use of signposts. The tone, however, is slightly too critical towards hosting sports events, which shouldn’t be the case. Because like what Amily commented, if the problems really outweigh the benefits by this much, why would any country want to waste their money on such events? So maybe the theory that only country capable should host such events could be brought up in the 1st para before going on to discuss how problems would arise when undeveloped countries hosting sports events?

    The 1st 3 arguments are sound but the topic sentences of the 1st 3 SVs could be brought forward so that they sound less area-driven. I actually like the final point because I never thought of the counter argument. But it’s a pity that the arguments are a bit all over the place and fuzzy. Perhaps a clearer topic sentence would help.

  2. innocia says:

    I was lost at the last point. What does “a major reason why nations bid for hosting rights is to gain international recognition to boost national pride” have to do with “Thus major sporting events have a huge propensity of tarnishing a country’s image, thus bringing more harm than good.”?

    The first point is relevant and I thought it was rather well-explained. I don’t get how “regular businesses are upset as a huge amount of manpower is directed towards sporting events” link to the next sentence in the third paragraph.

    Fourth point is rather relevant but don’t the Committees of Sporting Events run a background check on the country’s finances and ensure that the countries who applied are capable of hosting such events and that it won’t compromise with the welfare of its people?

  3. Nikki 09S205 says:

    I think the rebuttal in the second paragraph is not strong enough. It is stated that “More often than not, the returns are insufficient to cover the costs.” However, there is only Greece as an example. And it seems even more unconvincing when the host for the following Olympic (2008) comes to mind, especially when Greece is considered as more developed than China.

    In the next paragraph, the rebuttal is supposedly on how sporting events, though lead to development of a country’s infrastructure, does not necessarily benefit locals in the long run. However, the example of China wasting money on maintenance is not linked to how it would disadvantage people. Hence the example looks irrelevant. Meanwhile, the more important point is that “Regular businesses…sporting events.” But again, absence of example makes it seem trivial. Lastly, the sentence “Transport systems and traffic are also disrupted” is not related to anything in the paragraph.

    In the fifth paragraph, the logic of the argument seems weird. Countries actually host major events to show their good side and divert the attention from their bad side. In the case of China, all their problems were already well-known to the world even before the Olympics. However, they successfully gained recognition through hosting it. Is not that what we call more benefits than problems?
    And the line “China’s Olympic success required colossal planning, something which all nations are not capable of.” does not add anything to the argument.

    Lastly, the conclusion does not address the question.

  4. ZeeQ says:

    Comparison (OV-SV), Well structured

    Complexity/Simplicity of argument
    Simple, Clear

    Appropriateness of examples used
    Appropriate (Major Sporting Events)

    Logic of arguments
    The argument about how funds should be allocated to problems such as education and healthcare seems to be more applicable to developing countries. Whereas developed countries such as Singapore could safely develop these talents without compromise in Education (via Singapore Sports School) and Healthcare.


    I feel that the idea of the rebuttal for 2nd and 3rd paragraph carries the same idea that funds were not being put to good used and could be reallocated to benefit the people (instead of maintaining buildings/producing sports talent)

    Zhen Qiang (:

  5. Ehren says:

    I have a feeling that is Nicholas, but anyway Mrs Lok, i’ll send you my essay later on. Had no time the other night.

  6. Zhihui says:

    This is a comparison qns, OV-R is appropriate.

    It is unfair to state the example that the 2004 Olympics caused Greece to enter a financial abyss as there are many other reasons that resulted in their bankruptcy, like governance? In addition, numbers could be stated to prove that it is a economic gamble and that the increase in revenue is less than the money spent.

    Not all facilities built only for major sporting events are like Beijing National Stadium, which was deemed as a sheer waste of resources, so this example is just an isolated one. Most of the time these developments are useful even after the events?

    By placing a country in greater scrutiny, it may be harmful for the government and country reputation but it allows their governance and policies to be kept in check and brings attention to the problems?

  7. amily 09s420 says:

    hello mrs lok!
    i dun like the stand of this essay.if hosting sporting events really brings about so much problems,then wouldnt countries not want to host these events anymore?
    i think the example given in the second paragraph about “The sums received from international bodies are negligible given the scale of investment required and host nations have to pump in huge sums themselves. More often than not, the returns are insufficient to cover the costs.” which is Greece is an isolated example.(is it?) the author ignored all the other countries which were successful in having economic groth by hosting the sporting events.
    i also dun like the 2nd last paragraph.The argument is kind of weird. “Thus major sporting events have a huge propensity of tarnishing a country’s image, thus bringing more harm than good.”just because they have a huge propensity of tarnishing a country’s image so its bad?! ALso, the author claimed that all nations are not capable of colossal planning.really meh?! is that like insulting all the nations?

    okay amily from 09s420 here!! have a good weekend mrs lok! 🙂

  8. Doombringer says:

    In the penultimate paragraph it is mentioned that the Beijing Olympics brought China’s despicable track record in human rights under even more rigorus international scrutiny. How is that a harm to the people other that to the Communist Party of China?

    • gpjlok says:

      Name and class please. This is an educational blog that I set up for my students. So I am publishing only my students’ comments.

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