(NBC) - As soccer's World Cup draws to a close in Brazil, Russia is about to spend billions on hosting the next tournament - expenditure that economists say could give Vladimir Putin an economic headache and leave his country with numerous taxpayer-funded "white elephant" stadiums.
Putin reportedly plans to spend $20 billion on
The event is expected to follow the economic blueprint of this year’s Sochi Winter Games - the most expensive Olympics in history with estimated overall price tag of $51 billion.
Professor Andrew Zimbalist, a sports economist at Massachusetts-based
Landmark sporting events are rarely good value for money for the taxpayer, he argues. Infrastructure improvements, such as glamorous subway systems connecting venues and hotels, often benefit short-term visitors rather than the long-term needs of residents. More than 15 million Russians live under the poverty line, according to World Bank figures.
While success stories can be found in the Olympics of Los Angeles in 1984 and
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