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Tokyo 2020 Olympics

COVID measures to make Tokyo Olympics costliest ever

Plunge in ticket revenue likely to spark wrangling over burden-sharing

An Olympic rings sculpture stands in Tokyo Bay: The Games are expected to be the most expensive ever, due largely to the cost of steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19. (Photo by Ken Kobayashi)

TOKYO -- The official cost estimate for hosting the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, which were postponed for a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, has been raised by 294 billion yen ($2.67 billion) to around 1.644 trillion yen, meaning the event will be much costlier than the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics and likely on par with the 2012 London Olympics, which were the most expensive summer Olympiad in history.

According to a report titled "Regression to the tail: Why the Olympics blow up" written by researchers from the University of Oxford, the average cost for the Summer Olympics between 1960 and 2016 -- excluding the Paralympics -- is $6 billion. But the Tokyo Games will likely be costlier, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its unforeseen expenditures.

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