Seoul No Olympics White Elephant

As the world’s attention was focused on London for the past two weeks, the usual discussions arose as to what sort of lasting benefits the Olympics brings to the cities that host the games.

Though most host cities end up with a mountain of debt and white elephants, Seoul, the setting for the 1988 games, has become the model for success.

More than 20 years after staging the Olympics, Seoul still uses the venues it built for the Games. Moreover, they make money.

The Jamsil Sports Complex, which covers 545,000 square meters and includes the main Olympic stadium (100,000 seats), a baseball field, two swimming pools, an indoor sports facility and a track, is still in use, according to the Global Times.

The main stadium, in fact, has become the city’s prime venue for world-class sporting events and big concerts.

“Many large-scale K-pop related shows take place on weekends,” the director of the management company that operates the venue told the news service. “Thanks to them our earnings exceed annual maintenance fees.”

The baseball stadium is now home to two professional South Korean baseball teams, which are very popular, ensuring the stadium’s continuing profitability.

The average attendance for a game in the 30,000-seat stadium is 25,000, and during baseball season there is a game every day of the week except Monday.

Concerts also happen in the two sports halls located in Olympic Park, which contains restaurants and parking lots. In 2011 alone, about 8 million people visited the park.

“In South Korea, public demand for culture and health services is increasing every day,” the general manager of the park told Global Times.