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Data: Council on Foreign Relations; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

The cost of hosting the Olympics has skyrocketed in recent decades, outpacing revenues from visitors and saddling cities with heavy maintenance burdens. As a result, residents of potential host cities have increasingly resisted their government's bids to host the games.

Why it matters: Authoritarian countries eager for global approbation can ignore local opposition, making hosting the Olympics increasingly the terrain of autocratic regimes.

What's happening: In recent years, democratic countries considering an Olympic bid often hold a local referendum in the potential host city to gauge the level of local support.

  • The results often indicate that city residents oppose the bid due to heavy costs and other burdens, so democratic countries increasingly cancel their bids, Thomas Könecke and Michiel de Nooij wrote in a 2017 study published in the journal Current Issues in Sports Science.
  • "In the bidding race for the Winter Games in 2022, all eight potential hosts from democratic countries terminated their bidding efforts before the IOC's final vote, which left two cities from authoritarian states as potential hosts," Könecke and de Nooij wrote.

The bottom line: "Keeping good working relations with authoritarian governments helps the IOC to secure the future of its main revenue driver, the Olympic Games, thus providing for its own future," Könecke and de Nooij wrote.

Go deeper: Boycott threat clouds 2022 Beijing Olympics

Go deeper

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29 mins ago - Science

The suborbital space race heats up

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic are pushing to launch their first paying customers to the edge of space.

Why it matters: If the two companies succeed, it will open up a new market in the space industry, one focused on consumer-driven demand for expensive trips to suborbital space.

No one in Washington is happy with Facebook

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Oversight Board's decision Wednesday to uphold Facebook's suspension of former President Trump found few fans in Washington and exposed the company to a new round of attacks.

Why it matters: While the board urged Facebook back to the drawing board to better define its rules and processes around political speech, political actors on both left and right agree that the social media giant already has too much power.

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
59 mins ago - Technology

Two tales of jobs in tech hubs

Expand chart
Data: Indeed; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

Jobs are coming back more slowly in America's top tech centers than in other cities — but it's not the tech jobs that are lagging, according to a new analysis from the jobs site Indeed.

What's happening: Pandemic-era remote work is still keeping white-collar workers in tech hubs at home, and that's slowing down the recovery of local shops and restaurants in those communities.