This was an article in Parade magazine today. You can read it at Does It Pay to Host the Olympics?. It can cost a city $50 million just to go through the bidding process. It is not clear that the benefits always outweighs the costs. Here is an exerpt:
"The 2004 Athens Olympics cost more than $11 billion and brought the city only about $2.8 billion in revenue. China has not released earnings from the 2008 Games in Beijing, but the $43 billion price tag shattered all Olympic records."
Montreal took 30 years to payoff the cost of the 1976 olympics. Chicago could spend up to $5 billion if they are the host of the 2012 summer olympics. Atlanta seems to have put its olympic buildings to good use.