Taking over the 2017 FINA World Championships at the last minute could cost Hungary up to 49 billion Hungarian forint, or about $177 million, Hungary Today reports.
Hungary jumped into the running very late for the 2017 event, which was originally slated to go to Guadalajara, Mexico. Mexico pulled out of hosting the event back in February, citing the extraordinarily high cost of hosting a FINA event.
Budapest, Hungary popped up as the next likely host city shortly after. Budapest was already slated to host the 2021 World Championships, so the move simply moved up the time-table some for Hungary.
The brand-new facility was already set to be opened by 2017, as Budapest was already the host for the 2017 Junior World Championships.
It’s a major coup for swimming-crazy Hungary to host both events, but it comes with a steep price tag. Hungary Today reports that the World Championships could cost the host nation 49 billion forint, which roughly equates to $177 million in U.S. dollars or $157 million Euro.
Those costs are why FINA is having some speedbumps lately in getting their major events hosted. Mexico’s abrupt withdrawal was the biggest story, but Canada’s Lac Magog also pulled out of hosting one of FINA’s Marathon Swimming World Cups this week, again citing the cost to the host.
The United States, consistently one of the world’s biggest and most successful swimming nations, never appears in the hunt for the major FINA events, and when Mexico pulled out of hosting the 2017 meet, USA Swimming’s president called it an “impossible” option to have the U.S. take over hosting duties, given the high price of the event.
The flip side of the coin, obviously, is the prestige of hosting a major event, which the Hungary Today piece touches on. The 2017 World Championships, which feature swimming, diving and open water swimming among other aquatic events, could draw up to 5 billion TV viewers, according to Hungary Today, (though that seems like a very generous estimate) and the event is being considered the largest sporting event ever to take place in Hungary.