500 Million Vanishing White Elephant 5


Today saw the launch of the design for London’s 2012 Olympic main stadium, which has risen in cost estimate from £260 million to £500 million in the last nine months – and they haven’t started building yet.

I enjoy the Olympics, and they are obviously a major boost to the pharmaceutical industry. But I am perplexed by the concept of this stadium, which is to be part disposable. Most of it – 55,000 out of 80,000 seats – will be thrown away after the Games.

I can’t understand this. After the main tier is removed, what will remain is a stadium for just 25,000 people. What is the use for a stadium of that size? It is too small for top tier football, or even West Ham, and London already has a little used athletics stadium like that. It will be too small to be of use for a future World Cup bid.

It appears as expensive to build a disposable stadium as a permanent one. In fact, with eventually just 25,000 seats, that’s a staggering £20,000 per seat!! Think about that. Is this Gordon’s Millennium Dome?


5 thoughts on “500 Million Vanishing White Elephant

  • Mike

    I'm sorry, but the Olympic games ?" or, more specifically, their venues ?" are an absolute waste of money, and a drain on local resources. They typically result in unused, unwanted structures that sit there and almost never make a return equal to their original investment. The only ones who profit are the developers and assorted Olympic hangers-on who con local governments into funding this nonsense. There are very few exceptions to this.

    We need exactly two Olympic venues: one for summer (say, Athens), one for winter (somewhere in Scandinavia or Canada would be fine). They should be permanent, and funded through the UN or other global agency. The IOC should be abolished; the corruption in that organisation is so deep and wide as to make it unreformable.

    Countries could then put their monies to work training and supporting their athletes instead of building monstrous white elephants and wasting their tax dollars.

  • maceasy

    I agree. This is baffling. If you are going to throw money at an arena the size of Wembley (and why couldn't they adapt Wembley anyway?), then why dismantle over half of it? West Ham are looking for a new ground, so are Spurs. By the time it is built it could easily cost £1Bn, so why knock half of it down?

  • writeon

    Isn't the idea of building a partially disposable stadium an attempt to reduce costs, which have already spiralled from £260 to £500 million. A friend of mine who's a building engineer says a permanent stadium would cost £1000 million!

  • Merlin

    Not only is it a waste or money, it is a waste of time. Running round in circles, jumping over poles and jumping into sand-pits: it reminds me of the egg and spoon race and the sack race at primary school sports day. (And what was that race in which you ran in twos with your legs tied together?)

    What started as fun has got taken far too seriously and ended up as a massive swindle.

    I'd rather fund ten thousand primary school sports days than this nonsense and what's more they would deliver much greater health benefits than encouraging the population to become TV couch-potatoes while the athletes engage in a war of stealth performance-enhancement pharmacology.

  • Randal

    "I'd rather fund ten thousand primary school sports days than this nonsense"

    Or – radical idea I know – we could actually not take the money away from those who earned it in the first place.

    Just think, they might have things they'd rather spend it on than sports they probably aren't interested in, white elephants and corruption (in the games bidding process).

    If we were a decent people, these things would be funded strictly by voluntary subscription, and not a penny of tax money would go into them. And if enough people weren't willing to cough up enough money to make them happen – they wouldn't happen.

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