Lead Changes in 2020 Olympic BidIndex As Tokyo Support Improves

Saint Petersburg, Russia – Tokyo’s public support numbers released by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) during an Evaluation Commission visit in March helped buoy the Japanese Capital and put it on top of GamesBids.com’s BidIndex – according to the latest results released at the SportAccord Convention in Saint Petersburg, Russia Monday.

Tokyo’s public support has increased 23 points to 70% since the last BidIndex figures were released in February turning a bid with significant risk into one with great opportunity. Japan’s improving economic climate also contributed to the city’s standing in BidIndex, the original bid evaluation metric that has been measuring the relative quality of bids for over ten years.

1.24 points were added to Tokyo’s score, bringing it to 62.31 – a level higher than any of the four cities vying for the 2016 Games were able to achieve. Tokyo finished that race with a BidIndex of 59.02.

Istanbul had led since the launch of BidIndex 2020 last year, but has fallen to second, even as the bid’s score increased by 0.18 to a campaign high of 61.96.

Turkey’s score improved, despite the jaw-dropping price tag of over $19.2 billion, because the bid team showed the IOC hard evidence that some of the money had already been invested in needed transportation infrastructure – and the rest would likely follow. Then it launched the “Bridge Together” slogan, intending to send a message of peace and tolerance to the world.

Istanbul is currently the odds-on favorite to win for many bookmakers, including Ladbrokes out of the UK. But the reality is most times the “smart money” is wrong. For 2012, most punters had their money on Paris before it fell to London. For 2016 – more cash was down on Chicago, the fourth place finisher, than on Rio, the winner. Both Olympic bid winners Rio for 2016 and PyeongChang for 2018 also had the best BidIndex score on election day.

Madrid (56.49, down 0.80) continues to lag behind. BidIndex is designed to compare today’s bids with successful bids in the past – and Spain’s “austerity bid” created because of the struggling economy just doesn’t line up with past success stories. In order to succeed, Madrid will have to write a story of its own.

With the experience of two prior consecutive bids – and four for Spain – perhaps a script is already underway.

But the race remains close, only 0.35 point separate the frontrunners – and Tokyo does have room to improve.

Tokyo’s recent struggles have included a gaffe by Tokyo’s Governor Naoki Inose that drew a rare warning from the IOC. Inose’s critical comments about Istanbul were published in the New York Times, and were soon heard around the world. Inose later apologized for his remarks.

Additionally, many observers continue to be critical of Tokyo’s storyline, or more accurately, the bid’s inability to create one. A compelling presentation at the SportAccord Convention is a chance for this to turn around.

Each city will be given 20 minutes to present its plans to sports leaders from around the world including many IOC members who will be casting their ballots at the final election in Buenos Aires in September.

BidIndex is not intended to rate the bids based solely on technical quality, but on how the bids will perform based on IOC voting patterns. History has proven that the best technical bids often do not win but other factors such as geopolitics usually have a significant impact.

With three months to go, much can change. Further updates will be made to BidIndex before the final election. Full BidIndex details can be found on the BidIndex results page or contact info(at)GamesBids.com for more information.

Istanbul 61.96 (+0.18)
Madrid 56.49 (-0.80)
Tokyo 62.31 (+1.24)