olympics

Sochi Will Be The Most Expensive Olympics Ever — And It’s Not Even Close

The upcoming Games in Russia will cost a record amount of rubles.

Richard Heathcote / Getty

There is no lack of controversy surrounding the fast-approaching Sochi Olympics, from the “gay propaganda” law to the harassment and detention of journalists. Here’s something else to be depressed about: Russia is putting more money into Sochi than has gone into any other Olympics in history — including the much larger summer games. And that money probably hasn’t been well spent. “In Russia corruption is not a side effect: it is a product almost as important as the sporting event itself,” The Economist notes. Also: “Most of the money is coming from the public purse or from state-owned banks.”

At more than $50 billion overall, these Olympics surpass the $43 billion 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, which involved about four times as many athletes as will compete in Sochi. But how do you even fathom that much money? Allow us to help.

2. It’s enough for 20 Mars Rover missions.

NASA / Getty

$2.5 billion a pop. The Sochi Olympics will cost the same as sending 20 SPACESHIPS to MARS.

3. It’s more than four times the original budget.

Juan Carlos Munoz / Getty

The expected price tag back in 2007? A measly $12 billion.

4. It’s more than Apple’s quarterly revenue.

Bloomberg / Getty

That’s $37.5 billion. More money is being spent on a 15-sport competition than is spent in three months on the products of the most successful company in the world.

5. It’s nearly five times Hollywood’s domestic box office.

Stephen Cohen / Getty

North Americans spent $10.8 billion on going to movies in 2012. In Sochi, that’s what they spent on a 30-mile road.

6. It’s more than the nominal GDP of 108 countries.

John Moore / Getty

The entire economy of Guatemala is smaller than the economy of the Sochi Olympics.

7. It’s more than enough to buy all 32 NFL teams.

AP / Seth Wenig

Based on Forbes’ estimates, the NFL franchises hold a combined value of $37.4 billion.

8. It’s more than Bernie Madoff stole.

Mario Tama / Getty

“Respect.” —Bernie Madoff

9. Most galling of all: it’s nearly 18 Oprah Winfreys.

Olivier Douliery / Abaca Press / MCT

They could have built ten Oprahs and still spent $20 billion on the Olympics. C’mon, Russia!

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