Sport Makes You Fat

The heading of this article sounds like a contradiction in terms but there is every chance that the summer of 2012 will prove this statement to be true.

That is because a combination of every sporting event under the sun, high definition television and the current British malaise mean that we could all be spending weeks on end this summer imitating potatoes in front of our favourite 32"/42"/50" friend watching others getting exercise.

Only a couple of generations ago, at the very least if somebody wanted to enjoy a sporting event they would toddle up or down the road to the local stadium or a patch of grassy open space rather than observing limited action in snowy black-and-white.

Now, the likelihood is that most of us will not even bother to cross the living room for days on end, merely pressing a remote control to be dazzled by the talents of some of the few fit people remaining on an increasingly obese planet and only getting up to break open another beer can or packet of crisps.

Without thinking too deeply about it, having vegetated in front of the World Snooker Championships and the ultimately thrilling final day of the Premiership season, only working up a sweat in shouting at your favourites as they failed to perform, the choices available this summer are unique.

After Chelsea's venture in Germany, there are European Championships taking place at roughly the same time as Test Matches, Wimbledon and the Open Golf. However, these will merely be the curtain raiser to the ultimate in vegetative entertainment, the London Olympics and Paralympics.

Thankfully, these are broadcast on terrestrial television, saving a packet for those that have not already invested in a satellite or cable package. However, it came as something of a surprise to learn that the cost of a single ticket for an evening watching live athletics is apparently £125.

It is unclear where this money is going but the cynics amongst us will probably not expect it to be returned to central and local government who have, using our hard-earned taxes, funded the venture to start with.

According to the Daily Mail in January, the final cost is likely to be £24 billion, 10 times as much as had been estimated back in 2005 when Britain was celebrating the Olympic committee's decision to hold the 2012 games in London.

Such vast sums mean that everyone is going to get rich out of these Olympics except the people who have paid for them. Without understanding the full economic implications, it is possible that the only reason for the second dip of the recession is this brief athletic extravaganza.

If somebody did a full audit of the income and expenditure there could be a few eyes opened as unbelievable amounts of money have been invested in this project and it is hard to see when the return will come.

Over the weekend, Canadian friends proudly told me that by some measure or other the Montréal Olympics have now paid back their investment. This is pretty good going, since they only took place 36 years ago.

If this information is correct and London follows suit, we will all be able to enjoy a big street party in 2048, unless the country strikes lucky and begins to fund a fourth Olympic visitation before the third has been fully paid for.

Having said all of that, after the wettest spring in living memory, a summer of sporting glory watching Brits winning record-breaking numbers of medals, albeit enjoyed vicariously in glorious high-definition, does sound rather tempting at the moment.

Alternatively, maybe every accountant in the country should discover their own Olympic legacy and try to lose a few of those client-entertained additional pounds by joining the local gym or sports club or even merely climbing a few stairs or walking rather than driving to the station.

Okay that is cloud cuckoo land when the event of a lifetime is taking place.

Maybe next year?

 

Comments
John Stokdyk's picture

32-42-50 inches?

John Stokdyk | | Permalink

If we're talking figure measurements, that is one shapely couch potato you're talking about!

Sounds

Cloudcounter | | Permalink

more pear shaped than potato shaped to me.

Personally, I'm looking to beat my record of Olympic watching set in the last games, where I clocked up about ten minutes.  It will be difficult to beat that this time with the wall to wall home coverage, but I'll give it a good go.

No appeal

Roland195 | | Permalink

Professional sports have no appeal to me whatsoever. I can't fathom what enjoyment people get out of watching one individual/team play another, solely for some sort of remuneration.

At least with the American wrestling, only in most inbred of yokels don't know it's acted. The rest of the sports may as well be scripted.

 

 

Where is all the money going?

chatman | | Permalink

"It is unclear where this money is going" To Sebastian Coe and those contractors lucky enough to know him I imagine.

Sponsorship

chatman | | Permalink

I notice the games are sponsored by McDonalds, so presumably any weight gained on the sofa will be countered by the healthy McDonalds food everyone will be eating.

Greece

Philip Fisher | | Permalink

A mischievous friend has asked the question that should not be repeated.

He wonders whether Greece's problems are in any way connected to their own good fortune in hosting the 2004 games?

Let's hope not, otherwise we might all be reduced to entertaining clients at McDonalds and watching TV on imitation iPads.

John Stokdyk's picture

Sorry if jokes overshadowed a very serious point

John Stokdyk | | Permalink

Actually, I think it is a question that should be repeated, Philip. Once I'd negotiated past the hefty couch potato, your blog got me thinking more seriously about the Olympics and what they represent. The forced regeneration of the Lea Valley so far only seems to have displaced local residents, and put a big shopping centre (OK, and better transport links) where they don't live anymore.

The imposition of a near-military state (with surface-to-air missiles on local tower blocks) makes me uncomfortable as does the increasingly heavy-handed policing regime that is being imposed on people who do not arrive at the Olympics with the intention of celebrating Coca-Cola and McDonalds.

Finally, funding has been sucked out of local arts and sports projects for years to support the Olympic folly, and the government has continued pumping cash into the project while slashing spending everywhere else.

I certainly think it's worth repeating the key points of your diatribe: "According to the Daily Mail in January, the final cost is likely to be £24 billion, 10 times as much as had been estimated back in 2005 when Britain was celebrating the Olympic committee's decision to hold the 2012 games in London.

"Such vast sums mean that everyone is going to get rich out of these Olympics except the people who have paid for them. Without understanding the full economic implications, it is possible that the only reason for the second dip of the recession is this brief athletic extravaganza.

"If somebody did a full audit of the income and expenditure there could be a few eyes opened as unbelievable amounts of money have been invested in this project and it is hard to see when the return will come."

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