One of the most common criticisms aimed at Olympic Games' host cities is that the two-week event generates more problems than it solves, particularly from a financial perspective.

The 31st Summer Olympics kicked off overnight at Rio de Janeiro is no stranger to the debate, particularly given the country's fragile economy and the ever-widening gap between different strands of society.

While the Olympics tend to bring with them hefty investment costs and soaring expenses, ticket sales and a sharp increase in tourism can often soften the blow.

"The benefits can run from improved infrastructure to less tangible results such as national esteem, better results on the pitch and the international focus they bring, as well as a boost to tourism during and after the competition in question," said Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell.

Brazil's Bovespa Index gained 14.8% in the year after Rio bagged the hosting rights to the 2016 Games, but has lately been hobbled by commodity price weakness and a deep recession, while sticky inflation has forced the local central bank to hike up interest rates to a nine-year high of 14.25%.

And yet, if recent history is anything to go by, Brazil has reasons to remain optimistic about the post-Olympics picture.

Four years ago, Mo Farah, Jessica Ennis, Sir Chris Hoy and their Team GB teammates contributed to make London 2012 Britain's most successful Olympic Games since 1908, as the team's 65 medals eclipsed the target of 48 that had been set ahead of the games.

Britain's success on the field was mirrored by a strong performance in the stock market in the year following the Games, as London's FTSE 100 Index climbed 16.5% over the course of 12 months. A Government report published in July 2013 suggested trade and investment had received a £9.9bn boost from the sporting festival.

The British capital might have arguably delivered the best Games in history but it was hardly a trailblazer on the financial front.

In fact, with the exception of Sydney, London fared worse than its immediate predecessors, given that, since 1992, the countries hosting the summer Olympics have seen an average increase of 25% in their local stock markets in the year following the Games.

Spain's IBEX-35 soared 27.2% a year after the Olympics, while the Dow Jones surged 45.4% in the 12 months that followed Michael Johnson's exploits at Atlanta in 1996 and in both cities the impact of hosting the Olympics has been felt long after the circus left town.

The number of foreign visitors to Barcelona in 2000 came to 3.5 million, more than double the number seen in 1992, the year it hosted the Olympics. Prior to its Games in 1996, Atlanta had been home to less than 1,000 international corporations but this number had mushroomed to 2,400 by 2010.

Sydney's wonderful games at the turn of the millennium were not matched by the stock market, as Australia's ASX200 fell 6.7% in the following year.

Meanwhile Greece's Athex soared 45.1% in the year after the Games had returned to Athens in what proved to be the falsest of economic false dawns.

"It would however be unwise to put all of the stock market advances down to potential benefits of hosting a major sporting event, as many other factors can affect corporate profits and share price sentiment," added Mould.

"[However], cities across the globe still battle for the right to host prestige sporting events, since it is unlikely no benefit at all will accrue."