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2012 Business

West Ham - The Property Developer's Legacy

The media has fallen over itself to provide sympathetic coverage of West Ham's sale of their Boleyn ground. The Guardian headlined their article saying West Ham ‘agree’ to sell the old home ground as if this was something they would have preferred not to do instead of pointing out that developing the Boleyn ground was the whole point of the move to the Aftermath Park.


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London2012 Pub Legacy - tourists inspired to drink a pint!

Eighteen months on and the UK Press is still churning out Olympic miracle stories. Particularly prone to this are the nation's supposedly hard-headed business correspondents. One such is the Telegraph's Leisure & Transport Correspondent, Nathalie Thomas, who is convinced that tourists, particularly Americans, were so inspired by the London Olympics that they can't wait to pop into a London pub to sup a pint of Fuller's beer. As usual no actual evidence is produced to support this 'halo' effect and in fact the piece concentrates almost entirely on home consumers and that other well known consumer miracle, the Christmas effect.


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The joys of boosterism

A fascinating little boosterist gem from the Standard. First, it reports that Carat, 'one of Britain’s biggest media-buying agencies', says there was no boost in 2012 to advertising from the London Olympics. Well, that's in line with most other results and easy enough to understand. But then, second, we are told Carat expects higher growth in 2013, even though there are no mega events. Third, 2014 should be 'even stronger thanks to the football World Cup'. 'Even stronger'? Why 'even' stronger? 2012 showed no boost so what 'even stronger' growth can 2014 produce? And as the Olympics did not boost advertising in 2012 why should advertising grow in 2014 'thanks' to the World Cup? Fourth, the article rounds off saying Carat thinks 'Brazil and Russia should see double-digit increases as they host the World Cup and Winter Olympics.' London showed no boost in growth despite hosting the Olympics yet Brazil and Russia are expected to show double-digit growth because they are hosting these mega events?


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Lend Lease's Heygate Olympics

When is a bailout not a bailout? At the recent Heygate CPO hearing Lend Lease, who had to be bailed out by the government over the Athletes’ Village, apparently weren’t happy with this description, ie being bailed out, when they were challenged by objectors. @MichaellondonSF tweeted from the #heygate CPO hearing: ‘Dispute with LendLease about whether govt funding for Athletes' Village had been a bailout’. Others were quite clear that this was indeed a bailout!


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Celebration Capitalism!

The Guardian led the way recently with its poll claiming almost 80% of respondents thought the Olympics had cheered Britain up. Hardly surprising considering the constant repetition in the media of the wonders of the Games. In the summer at the height of the medal winning frenzy the Guardian’s poll at the time only found 55% thought the Games worthwhile. When considering whether the Olympics were worth the money the Grauniad relied on the Government’s faulty £9 billion price tag rather than the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee’s £11 billion or Sky Sports’ more radical up to £24 billion total. However, in other respects the poll had less comfort to offer. 61% considered Britain’s status in the world had diminished in 2012 while 51% thought Britain will still be stuck in a slump at the end of 2013.


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Corporate disclosure - but thick as thieves

Here's a searching piece of journalism! Sue Reisinger of Corporate Counsel talks to Chief Olympics Counsel Terry Miller about ‘her journey, her love of horses, and the challenges of her job’. Oh, and by the way, there's disclosure! Miller and Reisinger were University of Dayton Law school classmates in the mid-70s, and Reisinger worked with Miller’s British-born husband, Jonathan, at the Dayton Daily News. Just in case you thought they might be thick as thieves!


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Running on black: Blacklisting at the stadium?

Back in the Spring of 2011 Daletech Services sacked Frank Morris after he raised concerns about the dismissal of a fellow worker. The co-worker's name had appeared on a blacklist used by Olympics contractors Skanska and Carillion, who were constructing the Media Centre where the dismissed electrician was working. Recently further accusations of blacklisting at the Olympics have been made against Sir Robert McAlpine, who paid Consulting Association £26,842.20, including a spike of £12,839.20 for 5,836 blacklist checks back in the period July to September 2008 shortly after McAlpine started work on the Olympic Stadium in May 2008.


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ONS - 'Not possible to quantify the overall impact of the Olympics'!

Further to the Olympicsboostsh*t report on Games Monitor the rise in GDP was declared to be 1% not 0.7%. When it announced the figures the BBC reported the ONS as saying that 'beyond the effect of ticket sales, it was hard to put an exact figure on the Olympic effect, although it cited increased hotel and restaurant activity in London as well as strength from employment agencies.' This last statement is interesting as it is reported there was a decline in tourism numbers and in hotel occupancy but this was made up for with a rise in room yields because prices had been jacked up in anticipation of a tourism feast. The Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) had reported a plunge in visitors to attractions all over the UK during the summer, including the Olympics period.

The ONS makes a guarded statement about online retail sales where others were more outspoken about the decline. Retailers and restaurants were complaining at the start of the Games at the decline in customers and demanded TfL alter its transport advice and these impacts continued to be felt in particular areas like Greenwich and Leyton. The ONS stated that it had fixed Olympics ticket sales in the figures for this quarter even though the sales had actually occurred in previous months.

Statements from the ONS include a lot of possibles, mays, mights and 'no direct evidence':

*Employment agencies showed some strength in the quarter and it is possible that some of this strength was related to the Olympics. However, there was no direct evidence from survey respondents to support this

*Office administration: office administration was quite strong in the quarter but the evidence on any Olympic effect was mixed, with some respondents suggesting that it may have had an adverse effect, as opposed to explaining the strength

*Creative arts and entertainment activities: the arts and entertainment sector has been showing some strength for some time, with quite strong growth in the most recent quarter. There was some evidence from survey returns that output was higher in July and August because of the Olympics

*Accommodation: hotels showed greater activity in the quarter and this was one area where one might expect to see an Olympic effect, albeit mainly in London. There was some evidence from survey returns that output was higher in July and August because of the Olympics

*Food and beverage services: there was some strength in the food and drink sector and some evidence from survey returns that part of this might have been due to the Olympics

*Land transport: there was some strength in parts of the transport sector and some evidence from survey returns that this might have been due to the Olympics

*Retail: retail showed some strength in the quarter but there was very little evidence of any significant Olympic effect. Indeed there was some feedback from online retailers that sales were lower as consumers watched the Olympics instead of shopping online

*Motion picture, video and TV programme production: the data here were quite weak for the quarter and there was some evidence from survey respondents to support this weakness - 'people watching the Olympics instead'


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