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The Trouble with Stadiums - London and Rio

More trouble with stadiums. Is this a record? For one Summer Games' stadium to remain out of action until after the next Olympics has ended? In London the LLDC has now said the Olympic stadium may not be used until August 2016. West Ham still seems to be the leading bidder in a race with Leyton Orient, Formula One and the UCFB College of Football Business with the NFL a wild card. In typical Olympics fashion Karren Brady has been talking up the jobs that will be created if West Ham win, claiming a thousand jobs will be created at the stadium. And, of course, in case we forget, where the Olympics are concerned property development is at the heart of the project and West Ham expect to make a killing on the redevelopment of their Green Street site

And then there's that budget again. The original cost of the stadium rose from £280m to £496m despite InsidetheGames reporting otherwise! Now a further £200 million may need to be spent on modifying the stadium for its future lessee on top of the £500 million already splashed out on its construction. In the meantime the LLDC will have to pay for the maintenance of the stadium while it lacks a tenant. As if that was not enough, the promise to continue to provide an athletics track has resurfaced as, if the stadium is not equipped with covered seating for one of these lessees, the deal with the IAAF for the Athletics World Championships in 2017 may have to be renegotiated. This could presage further trouble between the BOA and other parts of the Olympic team as S Coe, already a vice-president of the IAAF, has an ambition to head that body and retaining the stadium as an athletics venue is critical to that objective!

Hardly surprisingly after recent controversies the LLDC appears to have adopted a position of extreme caution in its planning. Dennis Hone, new Chief Executive of the LLDA, is reported as saying: “We need to make a decision on which of the four, if any, will provide the best long-term option and the best value for money. But it is important to remember that this is a 100-year lease we are talking about with the Stadium so we have to get it right.” 'If any'!

But London is not the only Olympic city to be experiencing stadium blues. Rio is wracked with controversy over the fate of the famous Maracanã stadium and sports complex. A public hearing into the privatisation of the stadium and complex was interrupted by a demonstration with hundreds expressing their disgust at the manoeuvrings of the authorities. Close on a billion dollars have been spent on programmes to upgrade the facilities. The football stadium has been closed for years as earlier programmes have been reversed. Now, despite promises from politicians like the present Mayor of Rio who said that “the privatization of the Maracanã is inconceivable”, privatisation is the preferred option following a well trodden path in mega events of public money being used to advance private interests. ‘Consultation’ takes the familiar form of presenting an agreed plan and ignoring objections. As Christopher Gaffney writes:

'The expenditure of public money on public works to be handed to private interests that involves the destruction of a top-performing public school, a century-old indigenous heritage site, and two Olympic quality training facilities in order to generate even more profit for Brazil’s richest man, is a perversity that boggles the imagination.'


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Barcelona - who tells the story?

Went to seminar on the so-called Barcelona model: Learning from History - Barcelona 20 Years On, which was being put on by the University of East London at the offices of the LLDC, with two speakers from the Autonomous University of Barcelona, Berta Cerezuela and Francesc Muñoz. Given the connection with the IOC and the LLDC maybe it wasn't surprising that this was strongly supportive of the 'success of Barcelona' theme.


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empty seats and a ghost town

Olympics Fever at Newham livesite: photo: Simon ShawOlympics Fever at Newham Live: photo: Simon Shaw


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adiZones and Lo-Lifes

by @spitzenprodukte


GAMIFY INSURRECTION


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Olympic State of Exception

Surveillance mast: photo copyright Giles Price, from The Art of Dissentphoto copyright Giles Price, from The Art of Dissent
by Isaac Marrero-Guillamón

Every other year the Olympic machine lands at a different city, where it nonetheless encounters a familiar scenario: by the night of the opening ceremony all the necessary infrastructures will have been built, free of charge, by the host; all of the city’s advertising space will have been occupied by the official sponsors of the event; state of the art security and military measures will have been deployed to protect the event; high-speed lanes connecting the venues with certain hotels will have been made exclusively available to the convenience of the members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC); and, if everything has gone according to plan, tickets will be long gone and an army of eager volunteers will be at the disposal of the organisers.


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Historic Olympic Protest Torch Relay in East London

Historic Olympic Protest Torch Relay in East London

(Contact Julian Cheyne after 1pm on 020-3560 4064 and 07988 401216)

Press Release from Counter Olympics Network – 16th July 2012


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Going Ballistic: “I don’t want to live in a building with armed police at my door and missiles on the roof”

By Brian Whelan

Until two months ago I was happy to have the Olympic stadium next door to my apartment in Bow Quarter, East London – I thought there would be traffic issues but never worried the games would intrude on my life.


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An introduction to the social impacts of the Olympics

The Olympics project is large and complex. In this revised version of our previous paper of the same name, we draw your attention to significant impacts, the paucity of procedures for impact evaluation, and the processes surrounding the bidding for, and promotion of, the Olympic event.


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