The cost of the Commonwealth Games

Let me start by saying that I am not a financial writer. Much of the debits and credits are a little over my head, but I do understand what a lot of money is. Durban getting to host the Commonwealth Games is going to cost a lot of money.

Let me try and break it down as I understand it. If you have any advice, updates or comments, please do so in the comments section and we can debate it.

First, some background reading. Durban has plans to host the Commonwealth Games in 2022. That’s 7 years from now. March is official deadline for applications and the Canadian city of Edmonton pulled out of the running a couple of days ago. So now Durban is the only city to show any interest in hosting the games.

From what I read on the city’s website, the financial situation in Durban is quite good. There are many numbers to read, and there is a little thing called the “Adjustment Budget” headline, which I am not sure about. But what I can make out is that Durban had a surplus of over R4-million .That’s not bad if you think of all the poor people that aren’t getting service delivery in the province of KZN.
To you and I R4-million seems like a lot of money but let me get into some big numbers now.

According to the BBC, the Glasgow Commonwealth Games cost 575-Million Pounds. Let me type that again in case you think I mis-typed. Five hundred and seventy five million Pounds. Convert that to Rand today and you get a staggering R10,397,703,211.81. (I put the commas in on purpose to show you how much money that is.)
In words, and if you are American, then that’s ten billion, three hundred and ninety seven million, seven hundred and three thousand, two hundred and eleven Rand and eighty one cents.

I don’t care who you are, that is a FUCK LOAD of money.

Now, the BBC report tells some great things about the good things that Glasgow experienced from the Commonwealth Games but the last bit about it hosting a singing contest getting the same exposure is a little worrying.

I want to talk about where those billions of Rand can go.

There are 22 sports in the Commonwealth Games with 261 medals on offer. Some simple maths equates that to a cost of almost R40,000,000.00 a medal. Forty million Rand per medal!!!!!

Hilton College is South Africa’s most expensive school. It costs over R200,000 per year for a child to attend, according to Business Tech. Again, some simple maths leads me to this:

1: One medal costs the same as sending 200 children to Hilton for a year.
2: One medal costs the same as sending 40 children, for their whole high-school career, to Hilton.
3: The total cost of the games would allow 52,000 children to go to Hilton for a year.
4: The school can only take 555 boys, so that means that Hilton can be full of paid up education for almost 100 years.

Now to me those numbers make no sense. I am a huge sport lover and I would love to see the games, but let’s face it, are you going to make the trip to Durban to watch anything? Nope, you will probably watch it on TV or whatever other technology is available in 2022. And don’t forget, the cost in South Africa will be greater as it’s still 7 years away and inflation is a bitch.

Two things are going to happen, (1) Durban will get the games by default and you and I will have to pay for a cool games for the rest of our lives or (2) Durban suddenly realises how much the games will cost and they don’t apply. The latter means that there might not be a Commonwealth Games in 2022. Personally, I don’t mind at all.

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