Consultants React to Changing Olympic Bid Landscape; JTA Shifts Focus to ANOC

Renowned sport communication consultancy JTA has shifted its strategic focus away from Olympic and Paralympic bids, at least for now, the firm announced Tuesday from Lausanne.

The JTA team had become a fixture of the Olympic host city selection process in some capacity since Paris’ bid for the 2012 Games – and most recently by supporting the Istanbul 2020 and Munich 2018 bids and previous winning bids including Sochi 2014. But JTA Chairman Jon Tibbs, who has been involved in the process since the 2004 Games, says his firm will decline work for any of the 2022 Olympic Winter Games bids that are currently underway.

Instead, JTA announced that it has signed with The Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) to deliver brand building and global communications services.

“The Munich 2022 referendum was a turning point,” Tibbs told GamesBids.com, referencing Munich’s withdrawal from the bid race after the electorate failed to support the plan.

“At that stage we decided that the changes to bidding being suggested by [International Olympic Committee] President Bach and our natural affinity to Munich meant that it was the right time to explore life beyond bidding.

“It immediately cleared the way for us to tender for ANOC without any perceived conflict of interest.”

Thomas Bach who was elected President of the IOC in September has been working on sweeping changes, part of his “Olympic Agenda 2020” plan that includes a new perspective on the way his organization selects its host cities.

Pushing for sustainability and creativity, Bach has suggested that bids should present their own visions and not rely on set models encouraged by the IOC and used by external consultants. Six bids for the 2022 Games were filed in November and Oslo, Norway has already announced that its bid will not use consultants and instead rely on internal resources – a nod to Bach’s wishes. The other cities are expected to follow.

While this could be a watershed for the IOC and how its Games will be hosted in the future, the 2022 bid campaigns are headed into uncharted territory. Tibbs couldn’t elaborate on expectations for the 2024 Summer Games bid, one that could be an epic battle between America, Europe and Africa and subject to a new set of rules brought about by Bach’s agenda.

“It is difficult to predict 2 years ahead but for now, our decision to decline Olympic bid work has proved to be the right one,” he said.

“JTA has decades of Olympic communications experience and an extensive global network: we are ready to draw on all our assets to help ANOC achieve their objectives.”

Along with JTA, ANOC also signed MP & Silva to take on the role of media rights advisor and events management agency.

ANOC President Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al-Sabah said “ANOC is committed to enhancing the level of support we provide to NOCs all over the world by professionalising every aspect of our organisation.”

“With their wealth of Olympic Movement and sports industry experience, and their genuine best-in-class expertise, I am certain that both of these agencies will make a valuable contribution to our objectives.”