Fewer and fewer cities are bidding for the Olympics these days, and now, the 2024 Summer Olympics has only two hopefuls: Los Angeles and Paris.

Budapest announced Wednesday that it would be taking itself out of the running after 260,000 people signed a petition against the games and the organizer said there was essentially no chance the city would win. This comes after Hamburg and Rome pulled their bids from this cycle.

The movement against the Budapest Olympics came from people concerned that the money wasn’t worth it, according to BBC:

“Over a quarter-of-a-million signatures have come together so this money is spent on modern hospitals and well-equipped schools instead of on the Olympics,” said Andras Fekete-Gyor, chairman of Momentum Movement.

Residents of potential hosts have organized against hosting the games because they tend to be a terrible deal for the host city. Rio de Janeiro spent billions on the 2016 Summer Olympics, saying it would lead to economic growth. Instead, the city is broke, has billion-dollar stadiums sitting around unused, and has seen an uptick in crime. As one resident told USA Today, this was totally predictable, but the city still bought into the idea that the Olympics were worth the cost.

“I think the Olympics were like the last ball of the empire,” said Ciro d’Araujo, an opera singer who was protesting on the steps of the Municipal Theater last week. “We threw a party but we knew that this was going to happen afterwards.”

Sochi, Russia, which hosted the 2014 Winter Olympics, is also broke. This always happens and it is always a bad idea for cities to host the Olympics. Los Angeles and Paris certainly have better infrastructure to support the Olympics, but they will also be spending a lot of money that could be put to better use.

The political situations in the United States and France could also complicate the Olympics. The United States has currently banned travel from seven majority Muslim countries—Syria, Libya, Sudan, Iraq, Iran, Yemen and Somalia—and it’s unclear whether travel from those countries, which will have athletes in the Olympics, will remain banned in 2024 if Trump is elected to a second term. An International Olympic Committee member said the ban is “totally contrary to Olympic ideas.”

France could have the same problem. One of its leading presidential candidates, Marine Le Pen, is considered even further right on immigration than Donald Trump, and could implement a similar ban.

So now almost nobody wants to host the Olympics, and the two who do might not even be able to host certain participants. It’s not the mess the IOC wants, but after fleecing cities for billions of dollars, it’s the mess the IOC deserves.


About Kevin Trahan

Kevin mostly covers college football and college basketball, with an emphasis on NCAA issues and other legal issues in sports. He is also an incoming law student. He's written for SB Nation, USA Today, VICE Sports, The Guardian and The Wall Street Journal, among others. He is a graduate of Northwestern University.