The Olympic flame in Rio is out. The athletes have gone home for good. Except maybe for Ryan Lochte, who might be on his way back – but that’s neither here nor there (along with Ryan Lochte.)
The big news is that the candidate cities for the 2024 Games are lobbying hot and heavy. In fact, the promotion got so strong that all four cities (Paris, Rome, Budapest and Los Angeles) got a scolding from the IOC because they were breaking rules by inviting the media to their national hospitality houses during the Rio Games.
However, there’s no limit to what cities can do at home to promote themselves. Here’s a recap of what they’re up to:
Los Angeles has broken ground on the new Banc of America Stadium, expected to be a key venue in its bid. It will otherwise be used as the home turf of the MLS Los Angeles Football Club. L.A. has also been trumpeting its “low risk and sustainable plan” for the 2024 Games, something which may make the IOC happy as it continues to try for a more consumer-friendly event.
The Paris 2024 contingent, meanwhile, has claimed that a record number of people visited the Paris 2024 booth that allowed visitors of all ages to participate in a virtual reality experience and enjoy a glimpse of Paris 2024’s vision to place sport in the heart of the city, should they be awarded the right to stage the Olympic Games.
Paris 2024 stated that more than 100,000 visitors from across the world came to Club France – the hospitality house of the CNOSF – to watch the Games, enjoy their cuisine and the onsite nightclub, Le Club. In fact, the organization claims Club France was one of the success stories of the Games, with the hashtag of #Pariocas bringing the cultures of Paris and Rio together.
Rome’s bid, meanwhile, while not exactly on the ropes, has been suffering because the newly-elected mayor of the city steadfastly opposes hosting the Games, saying they would be an expense the city cannot afford, and an infrastructure nightmare. With the Rio 2016 Olympic Games now over, key discussions are expected to take place between bid leaders and Raggi.
Answering a question on Rome 2024 director general Diana Bianchedi’s statement that she wants to set up a meeting with Raggi to map out the “best” possible bid, Ferrara told ANSA: “We have already given a clear answer some time ago; we campaigned for Rome City Council on a ‘No’ to the Olympics.”
Raggi has previously said a decision on whether Rome should press ahead with its bid will be made in October.
Budapest, which admittedly has been lagging behind the other three cities in its publicity campaign, however, now says it has devised a way to eliminate one of the biggest problems dogging the Games: what to do with world-level venues later. In this case, Budapest says it knows how to deliver a worthwhile legacy for the bedrock Olympic sport of athletics without creating a white elephant.
In a briefing in Rio, bid leaders including chief operating officer László Vajda outlined a plan for an athletics stadium to be built in the proposed Olympic Park on the banks of the Danube which would slim down to a seating capacity of 15,000 in legacy mode.
All four cities continue to press their suits. In the meantime, those who want to be able to trumpet the continued benefits of hosting the summer Olympics have only to look at London, which hosted in 2012. According to a recent report by promotion company London & Partners International, the Games have continued to contribute more than $2.1 billion (or £1.6 billion) to London’s economy since that city’s 2012 Olympics and Paralympics – simply by virtue of the fact that it has continued to host events. Among those hosted are the UCI Track Cycling World Championships and 2015 Rugby World Cup.
“I am convinced that the impact of the Games on London will be felt for decades,” UCI President Brian Cookson told said in an interview.