BidIndex Tracks The 2010 Olympic Bid Race

BidIndex is GamesBids.com’s model for comparing current Olympic bids with successful bids in the past. The 2010 Olympic bid was followed closely using this model.

While building the BidIndex formula it was quickly discovered that a bid perceived to have the best technical quality did not always win. In fact, there are many examples in recent history where bids considered to be of lower quality won the election, including Beijing 2008 and Turin 2006. Unlike public elections or referendums, IOC elections are held with a relatively small number of voters (126) who represent different national Olympic committees or sport federations, and they have different interests and agendas, and look for different criteria in a bid. Since there is no advance polling it is almost impossible for the media, the bid committees or even BidIndex to know who will win the bid.

BidIndex 2010
This chart follows the ups-and-down of the three finalists with BidIndex. Refer to the text of the article for full descriptions. (B, T and P refer to the positions of the 2008 bids Beijing, Toronto and Paris)

BidIndex uses trending and analysis to determine which of hundreds of fundamentals are consistent with past winning bids, and to build a “perfect” model. It uses technical details of the bid as well as non-tangibles including geopolitics and other external influences.

By measuring against this model BidIndex generates a score that reveals how close the bid is to past successful bids. BidIndex does not intend to rank the bids, instead it is designed to show how much potential a bid has to win considering the qualities of a bid combined with the circumstances surrounding that bid.

For 2010, all three bids have scored high enough to be considered potential winners. Generally bids over seventy points have very strong potential, bids from 65 to 70 have strong potential, bids from 55 to 65 have moderate potential, and bids below 55 are considered non-contenders.

Salzburg with 66.82 and Vancouver with 65.31 are both considered very strong and the margin of 1.51 points is not enough to differentiate the two bids. Both bids have many qualities attractive to IOC members. PyeonchChang at 60.05 is considered a moderate contender but a little weaker than the competitors.

In comparison to the 2008 bid election Salzburg and Vancouver fall below the BidIndex of the powerful Beijing bid that won in a landslide. In contrast they both received a better score than Toronto and Paris who were considered technically superior to Beijing.

The accompanying chart shows the BidIndex paths of the three final candidates. Listed below are the descriptions of the time points displayed on the chart as numbers.

(1) Eight bids submit applcations to the IOC. The race begins. At this point many categories in BidIndex are incomplete and the numbers are based mostly on external factors. Vancouver’s advanced preparations result in the most favorable BidIndex score. Little known PyeongChang lags behind.

(2) Applicants complete and submit questionnaires to the IOC. BidIndex uses technical information contained in these published documents to further build the scores. Salzburg’s strong plan and fast organization brings them close to Vancouver. PyeongChang improves marginally.

(3) The IOC publishes their initial evaluation report and creates a shortlist of four candidates. Later Berne withdraws from the race after a losing referendum. BidIndex uses technical information from the report and adjusts scores based on Berne’s demise. Salzburg leaps ahead based on a strong evaluation and PyeongChang improves by making the short-list.

(4) The three bids submit final bid books to the IOC then release them to the public. BidIndex uses technical information from the bid books. Issues about public support weaken Vancouver’s score while PyeongChang releases a good plan and continues to rise.

(5) Vancouver holds a plebiscite and 64% vote in support of the Games bid. BidIndex adjusts and Vancouver rises as public support issues are left behind.

(6) The IOC conducts evaluation visits to the three cities. BidIndex uses information gleaned from IOC reactions in press conferences. Results are generally favorable and all bids continue to increase.

(7) The IOC releases final evaluation reports based on the visits and bid books. Later the bids respond with amendments to their plans. BidIndex uses this technical information to complete the model. All scores rise based on glowing evaluations.

(8) The IOC votes for the 2010 host city.