The 2016 Olympics have wrapped up, and as always, they officially concluded with a closing ceremony on Sunday night. It was a flashy and grandiose event, since that’s what the ceremonies are all about. But if you’re wondering how much the Rio Olympics’ closing ceremony cost, you’ll have to keep wondering — that information hasn’t been publicly released.
In July, an official with the group that organized the Rio Games told the BBC that the ceremonies cost "much less" than the games in London four years earlier. But he also said that he’s not permitted to release exact numbers.
“The budget is completely different [from London]. We cannot say the real numbers, firstly because we are not allowed, but secondly because it's really difficult to know what the real number is,” said Antonio Abete of Filmmaster Events, one of two organizations in charge of producing the opening and closing ceremonies at the Rio games. “It's much less than London. It's because in Brazil everyone knows what the situation is, economically and politically.”
That said, we do know bits and pieces about the Rio games’ budget. According to Reuters, the total cost of the 2016 Olympics, including both sports- and non-sports-related expenses, was around 40 billion reals, or $12 billion. That’s not all that cheaper than the London games, which reportedly came with a $15 billion price tag, NPR reported.
The ceremonies themselves, however, are a different story. One member of the creative team behind the 2016 games estimated that the opening ceremony in Rio will cost just one-tenth of what was spent on the opening ceremony in London. Considering that the total cost of Rio was comparable to that of London, this suggests that the overall budget for the London games was much more heavily weighted towards the ceremonies than the budget in Rio. Still, this comes with the same caveat as before: No official numbers have been released, so these are all just estimates.
Regardless of exactly how much the closing ceremony in Rio cost, it was probably a very large amount. Hosting the Olympics is often a losing proposition for the host city, at least from from a financial standpoint. Usually, the cost of hosting the games exceeds the revenue that they create; for example, the London Olympics took in only $3.5 billion, less than one-fourth of what they cost to produce. This is even more true in countries already facing economic hardships, which Brazil certainly is.
The closing ceremony in Rio was a sight to behold. But in likelihood, it wasn't a bargain to produce.