According to a source within the International Olympic Committee (IOC), results of the final 2018 Olympic bid ballot may be withheld for up to one month after the member vote scheduled for July 6, 2011 in Durban, South Africa.
This controversial plan will be debated by the IOC Executive board Tuesday in London at the annual SportAccord Convention, and a decision will be made promptly in order to prepare for the election only three months away.
The much anticipated announcement of the bid winner would take place either in Lausanne, or possibly London – and it would be a star-studded gala event coordinated with entertainment and global television coverage. The iconic images of the IOC President opening the envelope and uttering the words “the Games are awarded to the City of…” could be forever transformed if set against the backdrop of an orchestra, special lighting effects, and appropriate Olympic-themed props.
Reports say a source familiar with the plan claims that the IOC recognizes the financial and branding opportunities of the announcement and is determined to leverage it for the benefit of the organization, its sponsors, rights holders and host cities. By inviting star athletes, celebrities, dignitaries and current host city teams – the announcement can be transformed into an event worthy of prime-time television coverage and would be the ideal launching pad for the newest host city.
Often newly-elected host cities struggle with international marketing – a crucial element in organizing the Games as many people are unaware of future host cities until just months before the Games begin. It is hoped that this event would jump-start the recognition process. This issue would be even further magnified should PyeongChang win the bid; this South Korean city is virtually unknown outside of its national borders and is often confused with Pyongyang in North Korea.
London is being considered as the ideal location for the event since facilities are already in place to rapidly prepare for such an event, and the city is organizing for the Games next summer. However, an alternate may need to be considered after London, for financial reasons, turned away hosting the prestigious ANOC conference last week that was to be held next year.
It had been suggested that the O2 Arena in London could be the venue for the event if the services of an A-list performer were secured allowing for the sale of thousands of tickets to the general public. Names such as Justin Bieber and the Black Eyed Peas are reportedly being considered to headline the event.
Should the event be successful, this new announcement process could be repeated for all future bids.
[Editor’s Note: Maybe it wasn’t so obvious this time (but come on; Justin Bieber?!) – this article was published in honour of April Fools’ Day – an annual tradition for GamesBids.com dating back to 2004 when we published this very popular item. Durban will get its big announcement July 6; the plan to have a separate event is entirely fictitious – but wouldn’t it be fun?. We hope you enjoyed reading it.]