The International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Evaluation Commission (EC) for 2020 Olympic bids continues its road trip Monday with a four-day stop in Madrid to inspect plans, venues and to review the city’s bid book.
The EC completed a similar visit to the Spanish city’s rival, Tokyo, last week and the group’s Chief Sir Craig Reedie showered the Japanese bid with praise for its organization, presentations and athletes’ enthusiasm.
Madrid’s third straight bid campaign (and Spain’s fifth after Seville applied twice) has taken on a tone of austerity after its budget was cut 25% from the 2016 bid lost to Rio and Spain has been mired in a financial crisis. Bid officials insist that the IOC can end the spiralling costs of bidding and hosting the Games through practical means, and they believe they can send the message that Madrid, with 28 of 35 venues already built will demonstrate this model.
Spanish Olympic Committee President Alejandro Blanco believes that the Games will also help jump-start the lagging economy that has so far avoided an EU bailout.
Blanco said “Sponsors are attracted by the unparalleled opportunities for publicity and investors see the possibilities to make significant profits.”
“They create jobs, especially among the under 30s, who need opportunities the most and who are most needed by any country. They stimulate tourism and increase consumption.”
But to be able to compete successfully, the bid will also have to convince the IOC that these Games are not just the “austerity” Games but will be the best for sport and the athletes. Starting March 24th, the IOC EC will complete its visits with a trip to Istanbul, a city with a thriving economy and ready to build new, state-of-the-art venues.
Madrid are busily preparing for the high-profile visit of the 14-member team consisting of IOC members, subject matter experts and administrative staff. The bid is trumpeting a volunteer drive and the streets are being decorated with promotional banners and posters.
With some of the EC team officially visiting for the third time, the Madrid bidders will need to show something new and compelling to catch their attention.
The Commission will publish an evaluation report based on this visit and the bid book in July; the IOC members will vote for the winner September 7 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.