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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

Hope King, author of Closer
Updated 1 hour ago - Economy & Business

Peloton pumps its brakes

Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

Peloton’s popularity is falling as swiftly as it shot up.

Why it matters: Not all pandemic habits stick around. Peloton's trajectory over the past two years exemplifies how challenging it's been for companies to gauge shifts in consumer demand — particularly in sectors heavily altered by the pandemic.

Mitch McConnell's remarks on Black voters raise ire

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell during a Capitol Hill news conference earlier this year. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has been widely criticized for comments he made this week about Black American voters.

Driving the news: When asked by a reporter Wednesday about concerns among voters of color, McConnell said "the concern is misplaced, because if you look at the statistics, Black American voters are voting in just as high a percentage as Americans."

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Trump’s friends worry legal pick for N.Y. case lacks experience

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Close associates and advisers to Donald Trump tell Axios they're concerned by his decision to use a relatively inexperienced New Jersey attorney, Alina Habba, in his high-stakes legal fight against New York Attorney General Letitia James.

Why it matters: A former president typically has access to the country's most prestigious experts, including lawyers. Trump has turned to the former general counsel for a parking garage company, who works from a small law office near his Bedminster, N.J., country club.