Monday, August 15, 2005

Will South Africa benefit from the 2010 World Cup?

Winning the World Cup is very exciting for any country, but once the joy of getting the second biggest sporting event in the world (right after the Olympics) fades, one must look at what long term benefits it will bring the host country. Clare Nullis has a write-up of the issues facing South Africa as they look forward to 2010.

"(South Africa's) organizing committee predicts the tournament will create 123,000 jobs — a boon in a country saddled with nearly 30 percent unemployment. It predicts $2.7 billion in new investment and an additional $874 million in tax revenue." They also predict "...about 350,000 foreign tourists flooding the country, compared with the 25,000 for the 1995 Rugby World Cup." These fans are expected to spend nearly $1.7 billion during the cup.

When looking at those numbers, it looks like a big win. But just like everything else in life, one needs to look at the coin from the other side. Achille Mbembe is a researcher who sees things from said other side.

"Mbembe said the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea showed that job creation forecasts were vastly overestimated. He said tourists who would otherwise have visited South Africa would likely stay away to avoid soccer crowds, and anticipated gains at hotels and restaurants would be mitigated by people staying home in front of the TV rather than eating out."

It is a good point to make. Greece is still recovering from last summer's Olympic games.

It is a delicate balance. It's like looking at Orlando, Florida, and asking if the town would be better off if Disney had never built there? If they hadn't, it would have never become theme park central, thus most of its current tax base would not exist. However, most of the jobs provided by the parks pay minimum wage, which puts a strain on services provided by the local government (I'm talking about everything from health care and emergency services to schooling). Just something to think about.

All I know is some great soccer will be played in South Africa in 2010. I just hope that they will see a reward for everything they put into hosting.

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Anonymous online sports betting said...

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10:22 AM  

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