The first former Soviet-bloc nations to host the quadrennial tournament have spent almost $39 billion getting ready, including $25 billion in Poland and $14 billion in Ukraine. Besides accommodating an expected 1 million soccer fans, the two countries are betting that new stadiums, roads, and other infrastructure will help give a nice boost to their economies and local companies.
So far, it hasn’t worked out that way. Three of Poland’s biggest construction companies have declared bankruptcy in recent weeks after running up hundreds of millions in losses on Euro 2012 projects.
Ukraine, meanwhile, is saddled with $6 billion to $8 billion in debt from the championships—more than the $4 billion Greece lost on its financially ruinous 2004 Olympics, says Anatolii Baronin, an analyst at Kiev-based research group Da Vinci.