On Wednesday, Budapest’s bid for the 2024 Olympic Games quietly left the starting block in it’s race against Los Angeles, Paris and Rome. While Hungary’s opponents opted for glittery ceremonies to showcase the delivery of their bid files to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Budapest instead remained mostly silent to the public while submitting the comprehensive 69-page document to be examined by the Evaluation Commission.
Without a dedicated Website, logo or even branding visible on the bid documents – Budapest’s bid mimicked the perception that it remains an outsider in this fiercely competitive race.
Yet Budapest is committed to this bid saying that there is great opportunity for Hungarians and the Olympic movement 35 years after the nation gained freedom.
“Benefitting from our ‘right-sized scale and capacity, a Games in Hungary will truly be a Games of a nation with 90% of Hungarian people within 90 minutes of Olympic venues,” the Prime Minister of Hungary, Mayor of Budapest and bid executives wrote to IOC President Thomas Bach in a covering letter with the documents.
The Budapest 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games will mark a new beginning for Budapest and Hungary. The pride of hosting the Games will invest the city and the nation with fresh confidence and purpose, propelling Budapest’s renewal as a modern, dynamic city, confident and open to the world. – Bid Book
“Budapest 2024 will serve as an inspiration for new cities aspiring to bid for the Games,” the bid book explains.
Agenda 2020 was designed to allow cities and countries the opportunity to host the Games where before it was only available to larger, wealthier cities. Budapest is pressing on the IOC to recognize this goal.
The Games would be scheduled from July 19 and August 4, allowing them to concur with school holidays and optimal weather conditions.
The Games footprint would be spread across two zones and seven clusters straddling the Danube River and highlighting iconic buildings and locations.
The National Government will fund the construction of an Olympic Village that would later be converted and sold to private owners for rental housing.
Seven new sport venues would need to be constructed for the Games including the 60,000 seat Olympic Stadium and the Tennis stadium. Media Village construction would also be required. These would be financed by the national government and the bid committee ensures that they are needed for community development and will have sustainable legacies.
Though the government has guaranteed financing for these construction projects, they are extensive and will present some risk for the bid.
A December 2015 poll conducted by the bid showed that 57 per cent of those asked in Budapest and surrounding cities said they would support the Games. The bid also claims that there is “no substantive or organized opposition to hosting” the Games, and “no referendums have proceeded.
While a committee in Budapest approved a possible referendum last year, the high court rejected it. The bid document explains that no referendum is required to hold the Games but wouldn’t rule out that a referendum could occur if the proper legal measures were taken and approved.
In November, Hamburg was forced to drop its 2024 bid when it was narrowly defeated in a referendum.
The bid has budgeted USD $58.5 million to finance the campaign until September 2017 – $53.8 million will be public funds while $4.7 million will come from the private sector. This funding is in line with the other bids in the race, all markedly lower than in previous years due to Agenda 2020 reforms.
The IOC Evaluation Commission will report on the files to the IOC Executive Board members in the spring who will then determine if the city is eligible to move forward to the next stage. Though officials have said that all bids will be eligible for the final ballot, there is an option for the Executive Board to end a bid under “special circumstances.”
“We look forward to the opportunity of elaborating our proposition during the second and third stages of the bidding process over the coming months,” the covering letter concluded, with hope.