13 Of The Most Expensive Mistakes in History

13 Of The Most Expensive Mistakes in History

Ah, the perils of big money projects. From the failed streaming service Quibi to the disastrous merger between AOL and Time Warner, from the costly and complex Big Dig in Boston to the over-budget Joint Strike Fighter program, it seems that when it comes to spending money, there are no guarantees of success. It's a lesson we've all learned the hard way, and it's a lesson that's been repeated time and time again. 

We all know that money can't buy happiness, but it sure can buy a lot of things. And sometimes, it can even buy failure. In this list, we'll take a look at thirteen massive projects that blew fortunes, and how they ended up costing their investors and creators a lot more than they bargained for. These are the stories of projects that seemed like a good idea at the time, but ended up costing a lot of money and leaving behind a trail of destruction. So, if you're in the mood for a cautionary tale, read on.

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Money can't buy success: Quibi fails.

CRACKED QUIBI Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman started Quibi, a mobile-focused streaming service, and got a lot of money from different investors. Despite all the money and the famous people involved, Quibi had to close down after 6 months (or approximately 26,000 Quibis, a unit of time they really thought would catch on). Quibi Qu $2 billion Q sundance institute Q sund institute Qui ibi sun O Qui

Deadline / NBC 

Money down the drain.

CRACKED CALIFORNIA HIGH-SPEED RAIL SYSTEM California has spent $9.8 billion on its high-speed rail project, with zero miles of track built as of May 2023. It's estimated that it'll take between $88 billion and $128 billion to finish the whole thing, from Los Angeles to San Francisco. $9.8 billion

NY Times 

Money well spent?

CRACKED BRAZIL'S 2014 WORLD CUP INFRASTRUCTURE IMPROVEMENTS Brazil put a lot of money into getting ready for the 2014 World Cup, spending around $11.3 billion on infrastructure. A lot of the projects that were supposed to be funded by that were left unfinished. Up to $11.3 billion


Big Dig: Big Money, Big Mistake?

CRACKED BIG DIG IN BOSTON The Big Dig in Boston was a huge highway project that was the most complex and challenging ever in the US. It was supposed to cost $2.56 billion, but ended up costing a whopping $14.8 billion - five times more than originally thought. over $12 billion


Marriage of convenience, disastrous consequences.

CRACKED TIME WARNER AND AOL MERGER Time Warner and AOL got married in 2000, but it was a disaster. AOL had to write off almost $99 billion of Time Warner's value in 2002, and its worth dropped from $226 billion to only $20 billion. It's seen as one of the worst business decisions ever. AOL Time Warner $206 billion

CBS / Time 

Money down the drain.

CRACKED IRAQ RECONSTRUCTION A lot of the money the U.S. spent to fix up Iraq, which was around $60 billion, was misused, according to a report to Congress from the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction. Up to $60 billion


Olympic dreams, Olympic debt.

CRACKED BOSTON'S 2024 OLYMPIC BID Boston's 2024 Olympic bid ended up costing them a lot of money. They were left with a debt of around $3.5 million and still had to pay employees, consultants, and vendors over $4 million. $4+ million BOSTON 2024 BOSTON TD GARDEN 2024 GARDEN GARDE BOSTON 2024


Waste of money.

CRACKED FIVE U.S. ARMY PROJECTS The U.S. Army spent a whopping $30 billion on five weapons projects that didn't work out between 1989 and 2019. These included the Brilliant Anti-Tank Munition, the RAH-66 Comanche Stealth-Chopper, and the Crusader Self-Propelled Howitzer. $30 billion

NY Times 

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