"The Olympics are a giant exercise in sports socialism—or crony
capitalism, if you prefer—where the profits are privatized and the
costs socialized. The games never pay for themselves because they
are designed not to. That’s because the International Olympic
Committee (an opaque “nongovernmental” bureaucracy made up of fat
cats from various countries) pockets most of the revenue from
sponsorships and media rights (allegedly to promote global sports),
requiring the host country to pay the bulk of the costs. Among the
very few times the games haven’t left a city swimming in red ink
was after the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, when voters, having
learned from Montreal’s experience, barred the use of public funds,
forcing the IOC to use existing facilities and pick up most of the
tab for new ones.
Even that’s far from fair. If anything, the Olympics should be
compensating the host city for the hassle and inconvenience, not
the other way around. The only reason they don’t is because the
Cold War once stirred retrograde nationalistic passions, blinding
the world to the ass-backwardness of the existing arrangement.
Londoners are signaling that this can’t go on.
writing in Reason, "Why London Is Yawning Over the Olympics"