Beijing to Host 2022 Winter Olympic Games

Sochi Winter Olympics
Markku Ulander/REX Shutterstock

Beijing, the Chinese capital, has won the right to host the 2022 Winter Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games that follow.

The decision was announced Friday by the International Olympic Committee after a final runoff against Almaty, Kazakhstan.

The IOC said that Beijing won because its bid fitted better with its agenda of a “stronger focus on sustainability, legacy, and transparency”.

Beijing is the first city ever to host the Summer and Winter games. Its 2008 Summer games was a major triumph of efficiency and design, and was trumpeted as the moment that marked China’s emergence on the world stage and as a superpower.

The Winter Games win came despite concerns that Beijing may lack mountains and natural snow, and despite concerns voiced by several human rights groups over the country’s treatment of dissenters, dissidents and most recently human rights lawyers, some 350 of whom were rounded up this month.

The 2022 games are forecast to cost $1.5 billion to stage – a tiny fraction of the $34 billion that the 2014 games in Sochi, Russia paid – and Beijing is expected to re-use some of the iconic locations from its previous event, including the iconic Bird’s Nest stadium.

NBC has US broadcast rights to all the Summer and Winter versions of the Olympic Games until 2020.

The Sochi games were a huge ratings triumph for the network, despite the awkward scheduling for North American viewers. NBC averaged 21.4 million viewers in primetime, down compared with the more schedule friendly Vancouver games in 2010, but up on the 2006 games in Torino Italy.

Broadcasters and viewers will already be familiar with the timings of events from Beijing 2008. And they will have another chance to get used to Asian scheduling with the next Winter Olymics due to take place in Pyeongchang, South Korea, in 2018.

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