Five Rings Over Rio

3 10 2009

Rio de Janeiro is set to host the 2016 Olympic Games after the International Olympic Committee voted today.  This win for the Brazilian country is more than a symbol of pride, but a symbol of cash as well.

Entering this morning’s vote, Brazil was the only country in the top 10 economic powers of the world that had not hosted an Olympic Games, said Brazil’s president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

“For the others it would be just one more Games, for us it would be an unparalleled opportunity,” he said. (

And what an opportunity it is: Rio expects to generate $2.8 billion in revenue, $570 million of which will be domestic sponsorships.

“The Brazilian economy is strong and is seen by all as a growth market.  The timing for a South American Games is good.  And from a commercial standpoint, there is a parallel with Beijing and the impact the Chinese games had in bringing new companies into a thriving and important BRIC market,” said David Abrutyn, Managing Director and Head of IMG Global Consulting.

Rio de Janeiro celebrates chance to host 2016 Olympic Games (

Rio de Janeiro celebrates chance to host 2016 Olympic Games (

“A Rio Games represents a big appeal for companies looking to do business and hoping to get into the South American market.  It will act as a catapult for their business interests,” he said to

While this is a good opportunity for American brands looking to further expand, the loss was a surprise for Chicago where the Olympics were expected to generate $3.8 billion in domestic revenue, $1.2 billion of which would come from sponsors. 

Despite the fact that the Windy City’s Mayor Richard M. Daley regarded the Games as a means to combat the recession and to boost the economy, the city of Chicago did not stand behind him; 84% of the city opposed hosting the 2016 Games.

“No Games Chicago organizer Alison McKenna said, ‘I oppose the Olympics coming to Chicago because instead of putting money toward what people really need, money will be funneled to real estate developers,'” said David Zirin on

As of July 2009, Chicago had spent $48.2 million on the 2016 Olympic bid which budgeted $4 billion.  Its city council further pledged tax-payer dollars to cover any financial shortfall.

The bid did not make it past the first round of voting, despite the presence of President Obama, Mrs. Obama, and Oprah Winfrey.




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