Olympics roundup: Price tag on Rio at $4.6 billion

News wire services

A study from Oxford University’s business school found that the Rio Games will cost $4.6 billion, or an overrun of 51 percent for a country facing a second year of economic contraction.

With the Opening Ceremony less than a month away, Rio de Janeiro is close to bankruptcy and has delayed salaries for civil servants including police. That has raised security concerns as a spike in crime was punctuated by a dismembered foot washing up near the Olympic volleyball arena last week. Some athletes have pulled out citing the Zika virus, while others have voiced concerns about competing in sewage-filled water.

“The billion-dollar-plus cost overrun on the Rio Games comes at a time when Brazil can ill afford it, given that it’s facing its worst economic and political crisis since the 1930s and the state of Rio de Janeiro is particularly hard hit by recession,” Bent Flyvbjerg, the lead researcher of the study, said in an email.

The report by Flyvbjerg, Alexander Budzier and Allison Stewart of the Said Business School found that Games held the past decade have cost $8.9 billion on average, not including road, rail, airport and hotel infrastructure.

While the cost overruns come at an unfortunate time for Brazil, this year’s Games will be cheaper than recent ones.

The report found cost overruns in Sochi and in London were 289 percent and 76 percent, respectively.

All the Games dating to 1960 that were part of the study cost more than expected.

“If you wanted to make it as difficult as possible to deliver a megaproject on budget, you would do exactly what they do at the Games,” Flyvbjerg said.

Rio2016’s press office didn’t respond to a request for comment on the Oxford report.

The report’s analysis includes sports-related costs of the games. That includes operational costs of the organizing committee and direct capital costs incurred by the host city or private investors to build competition venues, and doesn’t include indirect costs related to infrastructure and hotel upgrades. The study calculates cost overruns based on the budget and revenue estimates used when bidding to host the games. Rio won the bid in 2009.

Basketball qualifying

Canada, Serbia and Greece all clinched semifinal berths in qualifying tournaments to determine the final spots in the men’s field.

Cory Joseph (Raptors) scored 13 as Canada beat Senegal, 58-55, to improve to 2-0 in Group A of the Philippines, tournament. Canada faces the loser of today’s France-New Zealand game in the semifinals.

Serbia also improved to 2-0 in the tournament it is hosting, beating Angola, 83-60. Nikola Jokic (Nuggets) finished with 17 points and six rebounds for the 2014 World Cup silver medalists.

Greece beat Mexico, 86-70, in a game that determined first place in Group A in Turin, Italy. Mexico plays Italy in one semifinal, while the Greeks await their opponent.

The winners of the three tournaments get the final berths in Rio. The basketball tournament begins Aug. 6.