By Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw
With the spiraling costs of bidding for, organising and staging the Olympic Games, the greatest sporting show on the planet, it is not surprising that IOC Vice President, John Coates, on a visit to Tokyo on 28 June, 2017 as part of the IOC Coordination Commission – in fact, its fourth visit – has welcomed and praised the efforts of the Tokyo 2020 Summer Games’ Organising Committee to reduce the initial budget from 1.8 trillion yen to 1.685 trillion yen (US$ 15.7 billion). He has also welcomed the Committee’s aim to reduce costs still further.
In September of 2016, the Tokyo City Government warned that costs could mushroom to 3 trillion yen – four times the costs estimated in 2013 when Tokyo won the right to host the Games!
The IOC is very worried that soaring costs could deter other bidders for the Olympics in the future, bearing in mind, that for costs reasons, four potential bidding cities – Boston, Budapest, Hamburg and Rome – for the 2024 Olympics have already pulled out of the race to stage them.
Reducing costs, said Coates, is “not only important to you, your tax payers and the public, but it is very important to the IOC” and added: “it’s for our own future that we’re doing it, just as much as you want to do it for your taxpayers.”
These are perhaps desperate words in challenging times and may suggest that the Olympics are in some financial crisis and, therefore, strong measures are needed to stabilise the situation.
In fact, reducing the costs of bidding for the Games is one of the major initiatives of the IOC Olympic Agenda 2020, which was agreed on 8 & 9 December, 2014 at the 127th IOC Session held in Monaco.
Challenging and also interesting times indeed!
Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw may be contacted by e-mail at ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’