Rio Gains Lead in GamesBids.com's BidIndex; Chicago Leapfrogs To Second

Thursday’s release of GamesBids.com’s BidIndex shows that a shift in momentum is transforming the race – but the competition remains extremely close. The four candidates have earned scores that show they have the potential to win the Olympic bid in this first update since the release of the Evaluation Commission report on the candidates’ bid books and site visits held last spring.

The bid from Rio de Janeiro continued to accelerate and with the biggest BidIndex increase in the field it took over the top spot from Tokyo. Rio scored 61.61, up 1.66 since the last release and putting it at its highest point in his campaign.

Some key elements that helped raise Rio’s score are public support, a realistic budget, the sentimental lure of having the first Olympic Games in South America, and the popularity of the bid’s charismatic leader Carlos Nuzman. The International Olympic Committee’s evaluation report also identified areas of valuable Olympic legacy.

Chicago also marked a significant increase with its BidIndex score moving up 1.64 points to 60.01, lifting the bid up two spots to second place. That reversed a steady decline that the American bid had suffered since the beginning of the campaign.

On a bit of a roller coaster ride, Chicago’s bid announced Wednesday that the city council has approved the Olympic host city contract allowing the Mayor to sign it if the bid is successful. This resolves a major issue regarding financial guarantees, and the development is accounted for in this BidIndex release.

The evaluation report for Chicago was generally positive; however tensions between the IOC and the United States Olympic Committee could remain despite the recent concessions made regarding a new Olympic television network. And while the other bids will send their national leaders to Copenhagen for the final presentations, it seems United States President Barack Obama may not attend. If he does attend, expect Chicago’s score to increase.

Tokyo’s fortunes have reversed in this release; the Japanese bid dropped from first to third and declined 2.21 points to 59.20 – its lowest point in the campaign. The bid’s earlier momentum has been lost.

The bid received top marks in the IOC’s initial evaluation report; however there is some pointed criticism as a result of this site evaluation. Relatively low public support, a discrepancy in the reported completedness of venues, land allocation for the Olympic Stadium and potentially high hotel rates during Games preparations are among the concerns.

The only repeat bidder in this campaign, Madrid, has fallen back to fourth with a BidIndex score of 57.80, down 0.93 points.

From the beginning, the Spanish bid has had one weakening but static fundamental – it is located in Europe, and it is unlikely the IOC would choose a European host immediately following consecutive European Games in London and Sochi. Madrid has a good plan and excellent public support – but that’s not enough.

The IOC also noticed some organizational difficulties and felt that presentations during a site visit were sub-par.

“The race remains very close, but this BidIndex update offers some resolution. While Rio continues to improve and Chicago reverses its losing trend – the others seem to becoming less of a factor”, explained GamesBids.com Producer Robert Livingstone.

“If Chicago can build on recent positive news and continue to gain, this may be a photo finish not unlike London and Paris and 2012. But don’t rule out Tokyo and Madrid just yet.”

In the 2012 bid Paris had the highest BidIndex scores throughout the campaign but London continued to close the gap from update-to-update and pulled off a very close election victory.

BidIndex is a mathematical model developed by GamesBids.com that when applied to an Olympic Bid, produces a number that can be used to rate a bid relative to past successful bids – and possibly gauge its potential success. London’s winning 2012 bid had a final BidIndex score of 65.07 while Sochi’s winning 2014 Winter Games bids scored 63.17.

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 geo-politics usually have a significant impact.

The latest results have been released with 21 days remaining until the final vote in Copenhagen on October 2. The bids will have an opportunity to make important final presentations that will likely have an impact on the voting, especially with this close race.

BidIndex may be updated before the election if new information becomes available.

BidIndex Results

Rio – 61.61 (up 1.66)
Chicago – 60.01 (up 1.64)
Tokyo – 59.20 (down 2.21)
Madrid – 57.80 (down 0.93)

Full BidIndex results are available by clicking here.

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