Report: Bill for 2022 Beijing Olympics Will Be 10 Times Higher Than China Projected

The Winter Olympics may cost China $38.5 billion and make the Beijing Games one of the priciest on record

Alyson Charles and Kim Boutin of Team Canada at speed-skating practice for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. These Games are projected to cost 10 times what China projected, according to Insider.
Alyson Charles and Kim Boutin of Team Canada at speed-skating practice.
Catherine Ivill/Getty

When China dropped close to $42 million to host the Summer Olympics in Beijing in 2008, that price tag dwarfed the previous record of $15 billion that was paid by Athens to host the Games in 2004.

With the Games set to return to Beijing on Friday, China is once again about to be hit with a monster bill. It won’t be as pricey as ’08, but will be 10 times higher than what hosting the 2022 Winter Olympics was projected to cost, according to Insider.

Per Insider, China estimated that costs for hosting the upcoming Winter Games would come in at around $3.9 billion. Instead, after dozens of expenses were left unaccounted for, the 2022 Beijing Olympics may cost China more than $38.5 billion. That’s a massive price increase, but when an item like a $9.2 billion driverless bullet train built to take passengers between Zhangjiakou and Beijing in less than an hour somehow isn’t on the books, those are the breaks.

Also adding to China’s unanticipated costs is the price of having to deal with COVID-19, a circumstance China could not have forecast when setting its initial budget projections for the Games.

At the end of the day, the rise in cost may not matter as China is already planning to grow its sports industry to $773 billion by 2025 and will now have all sorts of new infrastructure to help achieve that goal. “China can afford the financial cost of the biggest Olympics in history,” The Wall Street Journal wrote in 2008. “The bill amounts to a small fraction of the country’s gross domestic product, expected to be nearly $4 trillion this year, and corporate sponsors have underwritten some of the costs. Moreover, most of the spending isn’t going toward running the Games, but toward roads, subways and airports.”

The same thing could be true this time around in terms of economics. Also, as always, politics are at play.

“These Olympic Games are happening only six months after the Tokyo Olympic Games. Now it will be easier for people to compare these two games, and of course, China will want to be better than Japan. It’s a good way to prove that China is an advanced country, and to say — we are green, and we are technologically advanced,” Bryan Chiu, an associate professor of sports management at the Hong Kong Metropolitan University’s Lee Shau Kee School of Business and Administration, told Insider.

“This time, the symbolic meaning is more important to China. They want to show the whole world we are capable of doing something and showing our national power to the whole world,” Chiu said. “They are very proud of being Chinese and (demonstrating) that they are capable of hosting such huge events.”

Win the Ultimate Formula 1® Miami Grand Prix Experience

Want the F1 experience of a lifetime? Here’s your chance to win tickets to see Turn 18 Grandstand, one of Ultimate Formula 1® Miami Grand Prix’s most premier grandstands!