2012 London Olympics: Lots of Green Behind the Gold
Life + Money

2012 London Olympics: Lots of Green Behind the Gold

REUTERS/Andrew Winning

The torch has been lit and the games of the 2012 London Olympics are underway. Over the 17 days of the event some 10,500 athletes will represent 205 countries in 302 events across 26 sports. But for the athletes, organizers, broadcasters and sponsors involved there is much more on the line than just gold, silver or bronze. There is also plenty of green at stake. Here, a look at the financial and economic issues at play:
£9.3 Billion ($14.6 billion)

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Amount of public money Britain has budgeted for the Games, though cost overruns and other associated costs could make the final price much higher – as high as £24 billion ($37.5 billion), according to Britain’s Sky News.

$70 billion
Reported amount China spent on the Beijing Olympics in 2008

179 Percent
Average sports-related cost overruns of hosting the Olympic Games over the past 50 years, according to an analysis from Oxford University’s Saїd Business School

$5 billion to $6 billion
Estimated total revenue generated by the Summer Games, according to sports economist Andrew Zimbalist at TheAtlantic.com

More than £13 billion ($20 billion)
Projected boost that the British economy could see over the next four years as a result of the Olympics, according to British Prime Minister David Cameron

9 Million
Tickets sold for the London Olympics

$775 Million
Estimated cost of constructing London’s new Olympic Stadium, where the opening and closing ceremonies will be held along with some of the sporting events

Seating capacity of the stadium. Once the Games are over, though, the upper tier, with its 55,000 seats, can be removed, leaving just the 25,000-seat lower tier

$47.6 Billion
Value of the Olympics “brand,” according to consultancy Brand Finance. Among major companies, only Apple’s brand is worth more, at $70.6 billion, the consultants say

87 percent
Increase in the value of the Olympics brand since the Beijing Games in 2008, according to the Brand Finance consultancy, which is headquartered in London

$100 Million
Approximate price paid by 11 companies to be “Worldwide Olympic Partners,” the top sponsorship tier for the Games, according to CNN. Those sponsors include Acer, French IT consultancy Atos, Coca-Cola, The Dow Chemical Company, General Electric, McDonald’s, Omega, Panasonic, Procter & Gamble, Samsung and Visa

More Than $1 Billion
Amount of advertising NBCUniversal says it has sold for its coverage of the Games across all its networks and platforms. The total is about $150 million more than it took in for the Beijing Games

Hours of Olympic coverage that NBCUniversal will offer, nearly 2,000 hours more than it provided for the Beijing Games

Total number of gold, silver and bronze medals that will be awarded to contestants in the 302 Olympic events. The medals were designed by artist David Watkins, formerly a professor of goldsmithing, silversmithing, metalwork and jewelry at London’s Royal College of Art

375 - 400 Grams
Weight of the gold and silver medals – or just under one pound. The London 2012 medals are reportedly the heaviest in the history of the Summer Olympics 

Percentage of gold in the London gold medals, or a minimum of six grams. The gold medals are actually 92.5 percent silver and more than 6 percent copper. The last time Olympic medals were made entirely of gold was 1912, according to the World Gold Council

Approximate value of a gold medal from the London Games, according to the World Gold Council. That’s the highest ever because the metal prices are near historical highs and the medal itself is heavier than in the past

Price paid in a 2010 auction for a gold medal won by a member of the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team

£25 Million ($39.3 Million)
Cost of making the 2012 Olympic gold medals if they had been solid gold

Percentage of silver in the London silver medals. The rest is copper. The metals for all the medals come from mining company Rio Tinto locations in Utah and Mongolia

Percentage of copper in the London bronze medals. The rest is zinc (2.5 percent) and tin (0.5 percent)

More than 100,000
People who will be paid to work on the Games in various roles, from catering and hospitality to ticketing and IT

Up to 70,000
Volunteers, known as “Games Makers,” who will work at the Olympics doing tasks such as welcoming visitors, transporting athletes and helping the technology staff display the results 

Mobile phones “likely to be lost or stolen” during the Olympics in London, according to data security company Venafi, based on the typical number of phones lost during a typical two-week stretch in London (50,000) and the expected increase in the number of people in the city (up a third)