BidWeek, Reporting from Toronto, Canada – Interesting news came out of London, UK this week that could be a significant boost thousands of kilometers away for the Los Angeles 2024 Olympic bid. Renowned bid consultancy JTA – with significant experience in the Olympic space including with international sport federations FINA and FIVB, the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games and most recently the LA bid – has planned to launch a JTA Pacific subsidiary in the California city.
Proving the international communications firm has bought in to the bid’s “Follow the Sun” catch-phrase, two full-time staff will relocate to the Golden State including veterans Young-Sook Lee and Alex Corp who will help develop business in the burgeoning Asia-Pacific region and provide significant support for LA 2024.
JTA Chairman Job Tibbs said “there is a tangible need in the region for international relations and communications advice from consultants who live and breathe the Olympic Movement every day.”
Tibbs added that the firm will pursue other opportunities in the U.S. market and believes the time zone will help support efforts in Korea, Japan and China – the sites for the next three Olympic Games after Rio this year.
Two high-profile Olympic logo competitions were in the headlines this week, capturing eyeballs and inciting many opinions across social media.
After hundreds of submissions Tokyo 2020 has narrowed its logo choice down to four and is now looking for the public’s opinion before the winner is announced on April 20. The Twittersphere was not impressed with the options and many of the comments were negative in nature.
Olympic columnist Alan Abrahamson put it best in his 3 Wire Sports blog, “with apologies to the creators, who purportedly have ‘poured their hearts and souls into their designs,’ all four would-be Tokyo 2020 emblems are legitimately terrible. One looks like the conflation of hallucinogenic mushrooms and someone’s brain (“D,” “flowering of emotions”). One of the Paralympic logos evokes — unfortunately — nothing so much as Donald Trump’s hair (“B,” “connecting circle, expanding harmony”). Please, can the soulful designers keep at it?”
There was also a common opinion among brand experts that logo design should remain in the hands of a relationship between the designer and the client – not through crowd sourcing.
Our readers weighed in with this poll (vote to see results):
Which of the four Tokyo 2020 shortlisted Olympic and Paralympic emblem designs do you prefer?
- B - Connecting Circle, Expanding Harmony (37%)
- D - Flowering of Emotions (31%)
- A - Harmonized Chequered Emblems (25%)
- C - Surpassing One’s Personal Best (7%)
New Olympic logos are rarely received well at first. Notably London’s 2012 logo launch caused a major ‘row’ across Britain when the general public were unable to deal with the nontraditional concept that evoked vulgar imagery associated with television show “The Simpsons” characters – and in some rare cases – caused epileptic seizures. Once the Games began however, and after years of branding – the logo settled in with a comfortable fit.
In the other major logo launch this week, Budapest’s bid for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games let loose its iconic new logo that embraces imagery of the Danube River and Liberty Statue. That logo completes the four-bid set along with concepts from Los Angeles, Paris and Rome.
So never mind which city has the best bid – which boasts the best logo?! The comparisons immediately ensued.
Comments and opinions on Twitter and Facebook about the logos were varied, and not coincidentally most favored the logo of the bid they happened to support. That again shows that a logo is only as good as the brand it is attached to.
In the “just move on” department, it seems Quebec City’s relentless quest to host an Olympic Winter Games has reached yet another crescendo. Though it has no plans to build “minor” Winter Games facilities such as a sliding track and ski jump, and it lacks what it can’t even build – a high enough mountain to host Alpine Skiing – Quebec is hoping to take credit for a Games that would mostly be hosted elsewhere.
It was reported Friday that the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) sent letters to seven Mayor’s across Canada to probe their interest in bidding – including Quebec City.
By proposing that key events be held across the continent in either Calgary or Whistler – or across an international border in Lake Placid, U.S.A., Quebec City Mayor Regis Labeaume says a Winter Games with his city’s name on it is a great fit with the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Agenda 2020. And according to him, a meeting with officials in Lausanne this week helped reinforce his belief that the IOC agrees.
Quebec came last in the 2002 bid that went to Salt Lake City, and has failed to receive the COC’s nomination to bid since.
Just like today’s column, Quebec – C’est fini!
A senior producer and award-winning journalist covering Olympic bid business as founder of GamesBids.com as well as providing freelance support for print and Web publications around the world. Robert Livingstone is a member of the Olympic Journalists Association and the International Society of Olympic Historians.