Olympic Games Reboot
Answering the pressures of an ever-demanding public to save the environment, become globally conscious and take responsibility for the consequences of hosting, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) rolled out a new plan today for improving the hosting experience.
With more than 100 changes to their existing structures, the IOC introduced "The New Norm" for delivering the Olympic Games to the world. The new plan boasts a flexible set of regulations that allow the hosting cities to tailor the experience around their own long-term developmental goals.
When the Summer Olympic awards were announced in August last year, we got our first glimpse of the changes. Los Angeles will have zero new construction for the games, instead using all existing structures for their 2028 experience. During the LA Games the UCLA Athletics Village will become the Olympic Village and the LA Memorial Coliseum and Staple Center will host events. Assuming baseball and softball make a return appearance Los Angeles has two MLB facilities within the city limits.
This is the phase of the plan the Olympic Committee is calling the integration of existing infrastructures. In addition to using existing facilities, the committee is also helping cities to use those buildings as multiple-sport facilities. They are also looking to downsize the requirements for the Olympic Villages which could, in theory, increase the possibility of using areas like college campuses or apartment houses in the local area, as reasonable alternatives that require no additional building.
During the 2024 Paris Games the media, Olympic family and spectators will be chauffeured between locations by city employees utilizing the public transportation system. Naturally this will greatly reduce the carbon footprint left behind at the 2024 Summer Games.
The IOC is also looking into mobile systems they can put in place that are reusable and portable. These systems would move Games-to-Games saving set-up and structural costs. Not specifically listed, certainly a ticket system and accompanying facilities could easily fall in line with this type of plan.
The overall concept is to meet a goal of value-adding. This includes flexibility in their requirements as well as efficient and sustainable solutions for the hosting cities while decreasing costs, reducing the complexity of hosting and minimizing both risk and waste.
The new plan calls for a 7-year support approach. The first three years are used for brainstorming and design work while the final four are spent concentrating on planning, training and action. It seems, with the acceptance of Summer Olympic bids through the 2020's already, and the implementation of this new plan, we should expect the Winter Games Awards through at least 2026, if not 2030, by the conclusion of the Winter Games this month.
The question remains whether this new plan, while saving the cities on the front end, will eventually lead to equalized costs as teams of Olympic planners can no longer move from Games to Games. That means, over time, their budget for employees will need to grow. That can, for a short while, be covered by the savings but will eventually, most certainly, need to come from a cut of the ticketing. That means either the fans will be asked to pay more or the cities will be given less for their efforts.
For now the plan is to build the Olympic structure into a self-sustaining brand that relies less on outside help from local vendors when coming into town. Of course this is easier, in terms of negotiations and contractual obligations, for all involved but it does lead you to wonder what the cost of doing business with the Olympic Games will be for future cities.
The Olympics have already created their own broadcast network, the Olympics Broadcasting Services, capable of covering the Games and they are now handling all media relations surrounding the Games for hosting cities. Included in the new plan are ticketing solutions, including website purchasing capabilities, as well. All in all, it sounds like the IOC is moving forward with a business plan that will give them better control of their brand, and it's presentation, while minimizing their reliance on local talent and governing bodies to be tied up on the ground. They will become, in essence, a mobile sports franchise front office.
Many countries who take on the experience of hosting a Games do so with the hope of an economic boost from such jobs. Time will tell if the new plan takes too much out of the hands of the city at a price that makes hosting no longer worth the trouble.