What LinkedIn Polling Tells Us About World Cup, the Future Economy and China’s Zero COVID Policy

If these poll results are anything to go by, we should cut back the budget for the Olympics and ditch Meta stock.

Lance Ng


Photo by Parker Johnson on Unsplash

The Olympics and World Cup are both global events that take place once every four years. They pit the world’s athletes against each other at a inter-country level. Only difference being, the Olympics hosts a variety of sports, whereas the World Cup does just one — soccer.

Typically they do not take place at the same time. But imagine if they did, would most people watch the Olympics? Or the World Cup?

That was the question I posed recently to my LinkedIn followers. 180 of them voted, and the single sport event won.

Unscientific survey notwithstanding, what really fascinates me is the cost-benefit analysis. The Olympics typically cost a lot more than the World Cup to organize. In fact, according to The New York Times, “every Olympics since 1960 has run over budget, at an average of 172 percent…”

The last one held in Tokyo cost the Japanese government around US$28 billion. And like many host cities that came before, most of the infrastructure that were built just for the games will have “no economically viable use for them” after the event ends.

Another article published in the Council on Foreign Relations said, “A growing number of economists argue that the benefits of hosting the games are at best exaggerated and at worst nonexistent, leaving many host countries with large debts and maintenance liabilities.”

To be fair, hosting the World Cup doesn’t usually turn a profit for the host country either. The financial winners in both these sporting events are the organizations that control them — the IOCC and FIFA respectively.

But if most people would rather watch 22 men kicking a ball around a grass field, that is certainly a much easier logistical affair to organize than 32 different sports for the summer Olympics.