POSTED: September 22nd 2009

Critical 10-day countdown for 2016 Olympic bids

Four finalists (clockwise from top left): Chicago, Rio de Janeiro, Madrid and Tokyo / lake images
Four finalists (clockwise from top left): Chicago, Rio de Janeiro, Madrid and Tokyo / lake images

LAURA WALDEN /  Sports Features Communications

TAMPA: The 10 days left for the four cities vying to host the 2016 Games will be the most crucial of the entire campaign. This time, when the Olympic Family lands in Copenhagen on October 1 for the 121st Session and Congress starting the next day there will be no breathing room for last-minute lobbying on the spot in person. It’s now or never.

This is a tough agenda for any bid since many IOC members will arrive in the city only the day before the presentations and the vote. On the eve the IOC will hold the opening ceremony for the session probably followed by a reception so people will have a chance to mingle.

The cities will have less than 24 hours see IOC members in person and to undertake last-minute exchanges before the session opens at 8:30 am on October 2 and the first bid city Chicago will hit the presentation podium just 15 minutes later. The other cities are set to follow throughout the day. This is an extremely tight window of opportunity in Olympic bid terms.

Usually several days of meetings allow the members and bid teams to meet, exchange ideas and actively campaign in person. This is always flanked by a media chase to report the latest advances in the bid race.

This time, however, the members will likely come to the meeting with their minds already made up - and there will be little time in which to change their point of view. Therefore, these last 10 days are of essence for that last-minute surge of bid networking.

New process

Earlier this summer the IOC held an extraordinary bid briefing at the headquarters in Lausanne giving all four cities a chance to give presentations before the 93 members in attendance and to gain lobbying time.

The seven sports up for consideration for the 2016 sports program (baseball, golf, karate, roller sports, rugby, softball and squash) were also presenting to the IOC executive board which subsequently put forward golf and rugby to be considered at the upcoming session.

The bid cities then had to deliver their presentations twice - both in Lausanne and next week in Copenhagen - and have consequently been faced with a new challenge: how to redeliver the same basic bid project information a second time on voting day and be more compelling and convincing.

This is a new situation and has required extra homework through the need to find a new way to re-present a bid without being monotonous. The majority of the people in attendance have already seen the first presentation so now the cities have to get creative.

The meeting in Lausanne was considered by both bid cities and members as a glowing success and the process is likely to be repeated for future bids. It offered a viable alternative to member visits and now future bid cities will know they need to create multiple presentations.

Lucrative broadcast rights

The IOC has decided to hold off marketing the United States broadcast rights for 2016 until after the host city has been chosen and the economic recession has eased. A bidding war between the top American networks is widely expected since online platforms have emerged as a lucrative adjunct to regular programming. NBC’s web presence last year for Beijing 2008 was cutting edge and took its coverage of the Olympics to a new level.

In 2003 NBC spent $2.2bn on the rights to the 2010 and 2012 Games at the time the host cities had not been decided. NBC outbid US networks ABC and Fox with an offer to pay $820m for the 2010 Winter Games, $1.18bn for the 2012 Games and threw in another $200m for promotional and marketing fees.

Recently Rupert Murdoch of News Corp and Fox has reportedly expressed more interest in jumping into the US broadcast bidding ring if Chicago were to be voted host city.

Cost of bidding

The cost of bidding for this 2016 round of cities has been fairly contained with each city's campaign budgets coming in officially at just under $50m - Chicago $49.3m, Madrid $40.4m, Tokyo $48m and Rio de Janeiro $43m.

Hence - even without counting the early failed bids - a grand total of $180.7m has been invested by the four cities chasing votes in the first round starting with 98 members with a grand total of 106 members in all. IOC President Rogge does not vote. This overall investment makes these 98 votes worth approximately $1.84m each - an expensive gamble.

Some cities are already uncovering their cards on how many votes they think they have in the bag. That can mean the kiss of death in bid circles.

The entire 2016 bid process has been active since September 14, 2007 when the IOC announced the names of the applicant cities: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Madrid, Spain; Prague, Czech Republic; Tokyo, Japan; Baku, Azerbaijan; Doha, Qatar; and Chicago, IL, USA.

Keywords · 2016 Olympics · Olympic bids · IOC

For more information contact:
Laura Walden ()

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