A recent blog triggered some thoughts about how the Olympics today now represent a a joining of countries and economies in a rather harmonious ritual in which people put aside differences to compete under a common set of rules.

Of course, the Olympics are more than just harmonious world competition. They also represent a significant business opportunity! Most aptly highlighting this fact is an entire section on the website of a major news outlet featuring the title “Business of the Olympics”.  In fact, there are companies “participating” in the Olympics via advertising and sponsorships, whose economic power exceeds that of some of the smaller countries competing. Not only are giant companies like Nike and NBC competing for the world platform, but countries as well. A recent study of the 2008 Beijing Olympics estimates the impact of having the Olympics in China was a lift of 3-5 percent in the country’s GDP.

A narrow perspective of the Olympics would be one that only measures the economic impact of the events. Lets be honest, the joining of countries across the globe to compete provides hope in things greater than just profits and GDP. On the other hand, one might argue that the Olympics have lost their way due to the profit opportunities being exploited.  I would argue that the significant investments in this world event just bring to light the astonishing global business environment in which we all operate today.

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