Against the run of the game the 2008 Beijing Olympics made a profit. Although the operation and construction costs were well over initial budgets revenue also exceeded expectations. According to a report released by the National Audit Office, the Beijing Organizing Committee for the 2008 Olympics (BOCOG) was able to make an operating profit of approximately RMB1.16 billion($170 million).
BOCOG’s operating revenues totaled RMB 20.5 billion ($2.999 billion), far beyond the initial projections of $1.625 billion that Beijing had budgeted for back in 2001 and also much larger then the adjusted figure of approximately $2 billion that was announced at the start of the games.
Major sources of revenue included broadcasting rights, sponsorship, merchandise, lottery funds (RMB 2.75 billion yuan) and tickets (RMB 1.28 billion).
The over RMB 1 billion in operating profit was over ten times the original estimate, and puts the Beijing Olympics in the same league as the Athen’s games in terms of profitability.
The National Audit Office also reported problems with the bidding and outsourcing process in 14 of the 93 projects that they audited. Some projects that relied on private investment, like the National Stadium, were still owed money by investors.
EEO.com.cn said the report was confined to auditing BOCOG’s finances and also the cost of constructing the Olympic venues. Various other estimates that include the huge investment in infrastructure that Beijing undertook in the lead up to the 2008 games, have put the total figure of investment at close to RMB 300 billion (over $40 billion).