Tokyo's bid wins odds makers' favor to host 2020 Olympics

By Grace Huang
Courtesy of the Associated Press

(c) 2013, Bloomberg News.

TOKYO — Tokyo is the odds-on favorite to host the 2020 Olympic Games in the days before the winning city is announced, according to bookmakers.

Japan's capital, which last hosted the Olympics in 1964, has 44 percent of the bets placed, according to OddsChecker.com, a website that gathers online gambling data. Madrid is second with a 29 percent chance of winning the Summer Games, followed by Istanbul with 24 percent.

The International Olympic Committee will announce the winning city Sept. 7 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The speculation is giving a boost to Japanese construction and real estate companies.

Okasan Securities Group Inc.'s Tokyo Olympics-Related Stocks Index has gained 47 percent this year, compared with the broader Topix Index that has added 34 percent. The group of 79 stocks that may benefit from the Games includes real estate, tourist companies and construction firms such as Yokogawa Bridge Holdings Corp., which jumped 61 percent this year.

"Development-related stocks in the index have appreciated significantly because of the Olympics," said Takashi Kusaki, deputy director at Okasan's Global Financial Investigation Department in Tokyo. "The rise is likely to expand to tourism and other consumer-related industries later."

Consumer-electronics makers, including Sony and Panasonic, may benefit from supplying big screens to stadiums, bars and sports fans. Sony has doubled this year and Panasonic has gained 76 percent. Seiko Epson Corp., maker of the timekeepers often seen at the finish lines of track-and-field races, also has doubled.

"High-end TV sets and cameras are likely to be bought as the Games approach," Kusaki said.

The Tokyo 2020 Bid Committee estimated in June last year that the economic effect from the Olympic Games would be approximately 3 trillion yen ($30.2 billion) for Japan, according the group's website. The Games can create more than 150,000 jobs, according to the estimate.

Tokyo plans its biggest housing complex in 42 years to lodge athletes, Kenichi Kimura, who is in charge of the finances for the city's bid at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, said earlier this year. The government separately plans to spend 153.8 billion yen for new construction and renovations at 11 sites, he said at the time.

The village is planned on an area 28 percent larger than Disneyland Park in California and would be Tokyo's biggest since 1971, when a residential project called Tama New Town was built on the western outskirts of the capital, according to Deutsche Bank AG.

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