POSTED: October 17th 2016

DR. ERIC C. SCHWARZ: And then there were three Olympic bids....

Budapest, Hungary © Bigstock
Budapest, Hungary © Bigstock

Los Angeles, USA © Bigstock
Los Angeles, USA © Bigstock

Paris, France  © Bigstock
Paris, France © Bigstock

THE DR. ERIC C. SCHWARZ COLUMN in SHANGHAI / An authoritative and exclusive series from Sports Features Communications

(SFC) With Rome apparently removing their self from consideration to host the 2024 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games, the IOC is reliving the challenges from the 2022 Winter bid process, where city after city backed out until there was only a choice between two - Almaty, Kazakhstan and the eventual winner, Beijing, China. 

It was thought that the implementation of Olympic Agenda 2020 would encourage more cities to bid - and stay in throughout the entire bid process. 

However this bid cycle is the first to incorporate the new policies from day 1, and it seems many are still unsure of the true ramifications of Olympic Agenda 2020 and whether it will work.

There are three cities still vying for the honor of hosting the 2024 Olympics and Paralympic - two mega cities whom both have hosted the Olympic Games in the past - Los Angeles, California, USA and Paris, France; and one mid-size city whom has not had the opportunity to host an Olympic Games to date - Budapest Hungary. 

With Stage 2 Bid Documents having been submitted 10 days ago, each city feels they are in a strong position to win the bid.  In looking at the bids in alphabetical order by city name...

Budapest, Hungary:  would become the first Eastern European nation to host the Summer Games, and the first since Sarajevo in the former Yugoslavia hosted the Winter Games in 1984.  Also is the only country in the top 10 of the overall Olympic medal count in history to have never hosted an Olympic Games.  Mid-size city who contemplated bidding for the 2012 Summer Olympics, but chose to follow independent feasibilities studies and have worked over the last decade to improve infrastructure and Games concept, which have both been certified in audit by both KPMG and PwC.  Is the most stable nation politically at this time, and have numerous major international sporting events being hosted in the city and region including the European Youth Olympic Festival in Gyor in July 2017, and the FINA World Championships in Budapest in August 2017 - all right before the crucial vote in September 2017.

Los Angeles, California, USA:  trying to become a three-time Summer Olympics host (1932, 1984).  Sport is on the front page of all media with the Los Angeles Dodgers (MLB) in the National League Championship Series, the return of the Los Angeles Rams (NFL) from St Louis, the start of the NBA (Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers) and NHL (Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Ducks) seasons, and the Los Angeles Sparks being in the WNBA Finals.  The bid committee is already talking about conducting test events - 12 years out - but it helps that they have such a significant infrastructure already in place (albeit transportation questions and ease of movement around one of the most traffic-congested cities in the US need to still be addressed).  Also questions of political stability - no matter which way the election goes in November 2016 - may bring unwanted headlines to this bid... as well as determining how the use of privately funded new facilities such as the Los Angeles Rams new mega-complex may be circumventing the true spirit of Olympic Agenda 2020.

Paris, France:  the quietest of the three bids to date, mainly because of hosting the UEFA Championships this past summer, and also dealing with many issues of social unrest, immigration issues, and terrorism in the country over the past year.  While a majority of venues are within a 10km zone of the Paris CBD, there are numerous events being held a distance from the main clusters, which will be somewhat challenging.  Also questions of political support will sure to swirl with a Presidential election coming up in 2017, which could have ramifications on the bid.

So with 11 months to go - who will step up to the forefront of this Olympic Bid Cycle?  What will the impact of Olympic Agenda 2020 truly have on the full bidding process? 

Will the message be mid-size cities need not apply because the mega cities will dominate the bidding going forward?   Or will a city like Budapest change the way bidding for Summer Olympics is viewed - encouraging all to consider applying? 

How will this choice of the host for the 2024 Summer Olympics and Paralympics create a lasting legacy for the IOC?  Lots of questions - but the main answer will come in 332 days when the winner is announced at the 130th Olympic Session in Lima, Peru on September 13, 2017.

**DR. ERIC C. SCHWARZ is a tenured Senior Lecturer of Sport Management at Victoria University in Melbourne, Australia. He has been an academician for 15 years in the areas of sport business management, international tourism, and hospitality management - with special focus on the areas of sport marketing, sport finance, tourism, and facility/event management. He speaks globally and is the author of numerous publications in these areas, as well as been actively involved in consulting projects working with a multitude of sport and community organizations ranging from grassroots efforts to hallmark events.  

Keywords · Olympics · Eric Schwarz · 2024 Games

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