Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Closer: London Style: A Year after the Games, where is London now?

This week marked the one year anniversary of the London 2012 Olympic Games opening ceremony. Last year, London held a landmark Games, and being that this was the city's 3rd time hosting, it was definitely well run. Many believe that London 2012 was the best structured, best run, and overall best Olympic Games in recent memory.

Obviously, on the surface, everything that the games brought to London is a positive thing. Billions of dollars in revenue, incredible growth in public transportation, new venues that can be used for sports, recreation, and entertainment, and a new definition of what is Team Great Britain. The most interesting results of the last Olympiad are the things that aren't published across the international news, but the things that are discussed in the city and country itself.

Being in London, there is consistent talk about the Olympic games and what the city gained from it. Everyday in the London Evening Standard, I read a new article about some other side effect from hosting an Olympics; a few interesting tid-bits have jumped out at me.

The Olympic Park, formally known as the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, is situated in East London next to an area referred to commonly as Stratford (it's name on the Tube). Previous to the park being built, this location was nothing but wide open green (and brown) space, but did host many smaller communities of Londoners. Homes surrounding the park have risen in value by 45% since 2005, an average change of £92,000 ($135,000) since London was announced as the host of the 2012 Olympics. The town of Dalston saw the highest change, increasing by £165,000 ($240,000).

Businesses have and continue to cash in on the Games, as well. Particularly Olympic partners, such as department store John Lewis (comparable to Macy's in the US) credited the Olympic effect for a 27% sales rise in the past year from international shoppers. This past week, with the one year anniversary it was announced that the Games had generated £10bn($15bn) for the United Kingdom's economy; this figure may quadruple by 2020.

These figures are a major positive for future hosts of the Olympics, especially following past hosts that suffered severe losses. The 2008 Beijing games cost over $40bn, and that is a big estimate. No number has been reported by the Chinese in terms of cost or loss on the Olympics. London 2012 has already shown a profit, comparing this £10bn economic burst compared to the cost of approximately £9bn.

The long-term impact of the greatest Olympics of the modern era is still to be seen, but without a doubt the city of London and the country of Great Britain have both benefitted greatly from their third go-around as an Olympics host city. One year after the games left London, the hope is still strong that the legacy will last forever.


 Kevin Murray is a sophomore Sport Management Major at Drexel University. He is originally from Havertown, PA, a small suburb of Philadelphia. He worked in the Drexel Sport Management Department as a Research Assistant focusing on the Penn State scandal, equity in collegiate sports, and Title IX.  Currently, Kevin is the SMTSU Treasurer and Drexel Athletics Marketing Intern.  You can follow Kevin on Twitter @kevinj_murray.

Connect with Kevin Murray on LinkedIn.

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