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SPORT BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE

Hans Westerbeek

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Olympic Games: any takers?

Reality has finally caught up with the International Olympic Committee. In a world that is becoming more volatile economically, politically and socially the Olympic Games attract the wrong attention. An event that has become too big for its own good, too hard, too risky and too expensive to organise in a confined location, and leaving white elephant legacies that one would rather deny than celebrate, cities are dropping off like flies as potential hosts. Paris - courageous, and LA - ready and capable, are the last two standing in keeping the Olympic dream alive. And the likely move by the IOC to plan for the long term (Paris 2024 and LA 2028 in one decision round), lock in supply for a bit more than a decade, only seems logical to ensure that a great event remains a prominent feature on the global schedule of sporting festivities. The future of the Olympic Games does not lie in a return to competitive bidding for the right to make taxpayers spend a lot of money. The future is about finally returning the event to its roots - for the young people of the world to meet and engage with the event in the spirit of competition and friendship - on a platform of sustainability and realism. The two go hand in hand. Big cities, existing infrastructure, and smaller communities to host less popular events - share the love - and of course for the governors of the Games to more understand and act on behalf of citizen communities and less about me, being important amongst themselves and enriching one another in the process. Of course, commerce, sponsors and media will always be there to fund and distribute the stories and narrative but it is time for the IOC to think about how to win back the hearts and minds of those who may choose to watch the Games now and in the future - the disenchanted, digitally distracted and attention span lacking millennials. Good luck to the Olympic marketeers. 

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