IOC Evaluation Report Confirms Race For 2016 Olympics Has Yet To Be Won

The IOC Evaluation Report of the 2016 Olympic Bid Cities reveals what most observers have already concluded – the race is a very tight one month from the finish line. With the four cities on equal footing, the final month before the vote in Copenhagen on October 2 will be crucial – and the final event will be lobbying.

Chicago’s report underlined sponsorships, transportation and guarantees.

The IOC recognizes that the Chicago 2016 sponsorship programme is “extensive” and the expenditure budget is “significant” and “the Commission considers the budget to be ambitious but achievable”. This will raise some concern to the risk averse members of the Committee.

Transportation around the McCormick Place Complex is a concern and is described on the report as a “challenge”.

The report discusses Chicago’s request to amend the host city contract and the lack of a blanket financial guarantee. The request was refused, but since the site visit further deveopments have occured with Chicago’s financial plans and the issue may be alleviated.

The IOC found that 67% of Chicagoans supported the bid while 61% across the United States were behind it.

Tokyo’s bid scored the highest marks on the initial evaluation report but the IOC was a bit more critical this time around. By an IOC poll, public support in the City was found to be only 56%; and 55% nationally.

The report indicated there was a discrepency in documentation provided to the IOC. “During the venue visits, it became apparent to the Commission that a number of venues listed as existing would in fact need to be built. This lack of clarity could have communications and legacy implications”.

Evaluators had concerns about traffic around the proposed Olympic Village and Olympic Stadium – and they questioned the size of the land allocated for the construction of the Olympic Stadium. However, they did indicate that ii was a very compact venue plan.

The report describes concerns that hotel rates may be very high during the preparation for the Games.

The IOC commended Tokyo’s bid committee for their socially and environmentally sustainable plan and their achievable budget.

“Although some on-site presentations and venue plans lacked detail and clarity, documentation and information presented by key organisations involved in the bid was of a high quality” the report concluded.

Rio de Janeiro is considered the sentimental bid – offering an opportunity to hold the Games in South America for the first tme. The bid team was commended for their presentations and documentation that was of “very high quality” – but there were technical concerns.

The IOC remarked on the challenge of securing accomodations, especially guarantees on cruise ships – seven years in advance. Other hurdles include potentially long transportation times due to the complex topography and public safety issues, presumeably due to crime; however, the IOC notes that Rio is working on strategies to improve these items.

The report noted the potential conflict with the FIFA World Cup in 2014; “While hosting the 2014 FIFA World Cup will accelerate infrastructure delivery and provide valuable organisational experience, it also represents a challenge with respect to 2016 Games marketing and communications strategies”.

An IOC poll showed 85% support for the bid in Rio and 69% across Brazil.

For a second consecutive bid, Madrid received unusual criticism for a bid city with fresh experience.

The report indicated that the bid book and documents “did not demonstrate a full understanding of the need for clear delineation of roles and responsibilities, including financial, between different stakeholders…this could result in organizational and financial challenges.”

“Documentation and presentations provided to the Commission by the key organizations involved in the bid varied in quality.”

It seems as if the bid committee was not properly prepared and this perception could resonate as a weakness if they were elected to host the Games.

But the bid received praise for the strong public support of 85% in Madrid and 86% across Spain, as well as a compact and efficient plan that would result in short travel times.

When London won the bid to host the 2012 Games, it was considered to be in a tight race with Paris on the final day before the vote. Then, the two cities sent their national leaders, Prime Minister Tony Blair and President Jacques Chirac to battle it out and Blair was given credit for securing London’s victory. Tokyo, Rio and Madrid have pledged to send their national leaders while Chicago’s bid says U.S. President Barack Obama will attend if his schedule permits.

Watch for reaction to the report later on