The pomp and color that characterize Olympic games normally obfuscate the challenges that go with organizing and hosting the event. In reality, organizers often have to overcome numerous hurdles and even make compromises to deliver what is by far the world’s biggest sporting event. Consequently, it is important that the Paris 2024 organizing committee anticipates these challenges and find solutions early enough. One of the best shots they have towards mitigating potential challenges is learning from other olympiads’ experiences, particularly the upcoming Tokyo 2020 games.
The influx of tourists, both local and international, as well as athletes taking part in the event necessitates the establishment of a robust transport system to facilitate easy movement. This will be key to making sure that both athletes and fans access the sporting venues easily without disrupting the movement of residents of the French capital. Consequently, Paris 2024 should:
- Improve the capacity of transport infrastructure such as roads and metro in and around the venues and deliver on time. This will facilitate the movement of both participants and spectators
- Reduce weekday traffic in the hosting zone (ask citizens for cooperation) – this can be done by offering alternative routes or modes of transport for people who are not interested in the event or giving incentives for the use of public transport (Kuper, 2017). This will free up roads and other means of transport for use during the 2024 Olympics. Moreover, access to the Olympic venues should be limited to mass transit vehicles and metro (Blaustein, 2017). This will reduce traffic by eliminating personal cars.
- Bundle similar activities in the same place. This will reduce the need to move between venues, reducing the pressure on transport facilities.
- Hold events outside the city
While Paris 2024 has been allocated a budget of around 6.8 billion Euros, it is important to keep in mind that similar events have traditionally overshot their budgets significantly, the recent Sochi and Rio Olympics included (Ahmed, 2017). The London Olympics, for instance, consumed 11 billion Euros from an initial budget of 4 billion, while the Rio Olympics went over budget by over 51% (Leahy, 2016). On the other hand, Tokyo 2020 is projected to cost $25 billion or more up from an initial budget of $7.3 billion. Considering that up to 23% of French nationals do not support the idea of hosting the Olympics on the backdrop of the economic and social upheavals the country is undergoing (demonstrated by the weekly yellow-vest demonstrations), it would be in the event’s interest to minimize costs as much as possible to increase public support, which will be crucial to hosting the event successfully. Consequently, the Paris 2024 Committee should take the following measures to not only get the funds needed to host the games successfully, but also maintain its budget as much as possible:
- Use existing sporting facilities as much as possible (La Fabrique de la Cité, 2017) – France should take advantage of the metro-cities it has been developing over the years to reduce the need to put up new sporting facilities, which are normally very expensive.
- Revisit bid estimate to ensure that it accommodates new sports such as skateboarding, surfing, breaking and sport climbing which have been provisionally approve for inclusion in the 2024 games. The organizing committee should try to squeeze them within the budget as much as possible
- Minimize spending on non-sport infrastructure which typically result in unforeseen costs. This includes roads, airports and ports etc. These should be done with long-term use that bring economic benefits in mind. It will also result in an overall reduction in expenditure.
Ahmed, M., 2017. IOC Earmarks Paris and LA to Host 2024 and 2028 Summer Olympics. [online] Available at: <https://www.ft.com/content/f683076e-4c67-11e7-919a-1e14ce4af89b> [Accessed 4 March 2019].
Blaustein, L., 2017. Why Paris 2024 Promises Record Sustainability Wins. [online] Available at: <https://www.greenbiz.com/article/why-paris-2024-promises-record-sustainability-wins> [Accessed 4 March 2019].
Kuper, S., 2017. Why Paris Will be the First Post-Car Metropolis. [online] Available at: <https://www.ft.com/content/1b785f3e-9299-11e7-a9e6-11d2f0ebb7f0> [Accessed 4 March 2019].
La Fabrique de la Cité, 2017. Becoming an Olympic City: Paris 2024, a New Paradigm? [online] Available at: <https://medium.com/la-fabrique-de-la-cit%C3%A9/becoming-an-olympic-city-paris-2024-a-new-paradigm-aaed51b59af> [Accessed 4 March 2019].
Leahy, J., 2016. Brazil’s Olympic Costs Running 51% Over Budget, Report Warns. [online] Available at: <https://www.ft.com/content/ef122cb6-43d6-11e6-864d-01c0167ff470> [Accessed 4 March 2019].