The IOC gets together in Buenos Aires

The IOC is getting together in Buenos Aires

The 2020 decision: The vote will be between Istanbul, Madrid and Tokyo.
Madrid has bid twice (for 2012 and 2016) since Barcelona last hosted the Games for Spain in 1992. Istanbul has missed out four times (for 2000, 2004, 2008, and 2012) and Tokyo bid for the 2016 Games, losing to Rio. Tokyo last hosted the Games in 1964.
We’ve noted before that notwithstanding the costs, accountability issues and the recent global recession, there is not a shortage of interest…


While Tokyo has focused on finances, its strong economy and access it can provide to the large and buoyant Asian market, Istanbul has placed athletes at the centre of its bid, promising them an unrivalled experience as well as the notion of bridging east and west. Tim Crow at Synergy Sponsorship in London expects that Tokyo could outstrip the other two cities in raising sponsorship while he ranks Istanbul's bid as most innovative. Madrid highlighted its home support, as high as 91% in recent surveys, and that Spain along with Europe is starting to climb out of recession. The organisers of the Tokyo 2020 bid celebrated the record results of a new poll which showed that 92% of the public were in favour of the bid.

So what will finally determine the vote for host city? There is a strong Spanish – Latin American cabal. That may help Madrid.  Similarly, Madrid is leveraging sentiment foot to support the city's bit if that around the notion that the Games would help lift Spain out of recession. Japan as professional and clinical as it may be, has of late found itself under pressure over the ongoing problems of managing Fukushima. Istanbul acquitted itself well during recent disturbances but as we’ve seen elsewhere, these episodes repeat and may worsen, and that is on everyone’s mind – plus its proximity to geopolitical problems in the region is a challenge to take on board. The bottom line may have much to do with predictability, reliability, funding and issues of respectability. Which city will provide the best governance, management and ultimately which factors will be most important for the IOC and its own international credibility?

The assembly will elect a new IOC president. There are six contenders. The vote will take place on 10 September. Thomas Bach of Germany is widely viewed as the front runner, Mr. Ng Ser Miang of Singapore is believed to be second followed by Puerto Rican banker Richard Carrion. The others are Ukrainian pole-vault champion Sergey Bubka, Denis Oswald of Switzerland and International Boxing Federation head CK Wu of Taiwan. Will the IOC go for someone with new ideas about how to operate?
The election is a surrogate for the proposed agendas of rooting out corruption, doping and illegal betting – this is about transparency and accountability; perhaps establishing a new leadership style; expanding the IOC’s Olympic youth development centres in developing countries and targeting the young that are at the core of a number of international issues of dissent. There are also calls to manage better the power of financial muscle in the world of sports and how to better respond to the growing lack of confidence in institutions and demonstrate greater sensitivity to social issues. Finally, there is the matter of dealings with less-than-democratic leaders.

The Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games…
The IOC coordination commission has again visited Rio de Janeiro, its second such visit. It seems that “a large amount, however, still remains across the entire project and some timelines remain very, very tight,” according to Nawal El Moutawakel, who heads the IOC’s coordination commission for Rio 2016. Even Jacques Rogge has similarly weighed in – it is clear that publicly-voiced concern is being kept to minimum.

This article first appeared in "Back on the Block", New Millennium Business' newsletter on the business of events on 7 September 2013….the Block: Election stuff; IOC hits Buenos Aires; Brazil's struggles; America's Cup; TV-Asia; Cricket…and more –

Eric Winton

Director, New Millennium Business

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