Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Congratulations Sochi - Bring On The 2016 Bidders

Before I get too critical, I want to congratulate Sochi, Russia for their victory in the 2014 Olympic Winter Bid race. They set a goal, worked hard towards it, and deserved to win. They gave the IOC exactly want they want (and not what they say they want). That brings me to my point.

The IOC and their Executive Committee keep insisting that they want future Olympic Games to include less "white elephants" and have less risk by reusing existing venues or making temporary venues. They say that they want to keep costs down to make the Games more accessible by more countries. That's what they say.

Then they vote today for the 2014 host and immediately reject Salzburg, the one city who offered this.

Then, they elect Sochi, the bid spending the most money with the biggest risk.

Well, the 2014 bid is over - take note 2016 bidders, now you know the score.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

The Medal Round of the Toughest Olympic Sport

The 2014 Olympic Winter bid committees have spent over two years developing their bids and running first domestic, then international campaigns. They’ve logged hundreds of thousands of travel miles, shaked thousands of hands and made hundreds of presentations.

But now it starts again.

Over the past two years they have just produced a foundation upon which to campaign during the final two days of the bid.

Voting International Olympic Committee members who have already made up their minds can still be swayed. Undecided members are potential trophies for the bid marketers. The press and other media still need to be nagged in order to publish compelling reasons why one city is better than another in hopes that an IOC member might happen to see the piece and make a decision while drinking his election morning coffee.

Then at the final turn on the final day – the bid presentations can be the deciding factor. Is there one element that appeals to one IOC member that she hasn’t been aware of before? Will it capture her vote?

That’s what it all comes down to. This entire race could be decided by a single vote. With only 97 eligible first-round voters in Guatemala, the only thing certain is this race will be close.

Last time around with more eligible voters, PyeongChang missed clinching the first ballot by only three votes then fell two votes short on the final round against Vancouver – and PyeongChang was not considered a contender. For the 2012 Olympic bid Paris was only two votes shy of creating a final round tie with London.

It’s all still up for grabs.

At the end nobody will know what put the winning bid over the top. Perhaps it was a firm handshake with an Olympic gold medalist. Maybe it was a kind word from a national leader. Possibly it was a vote swapping deal with a supporter of a 2016 bid – or one from 2012. Or perhaps an image in a final presentation struck the right emotional chord of a voter.

Most likely, it will be a combination of several of this elements occurring during the final two days in Guatemala. That’s why the bids are pulling out the stops, sometimes driven by momentum, other times by frustration.

At the end the first gold medal of the 2014 Games will be awarded in what has become the most competitive Olympic sport.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Why We Should Love The New London 2012 Logo

I'll admit it, I was very tempted to write yet another "that new London 2012 logo is horrible" blog. It would be so easy.

Then, since it has already been done to death, I figured I would skip it altogether - especially since it isn't even Olympic BID related which is the main focus of this blog.

But why should I miss out on all of the fun? I've approached it from a new angle.

Here is my top 10 list of why we should love the new London 2012 logo.

10. If you sign the "Keep The London 2012 Olympic Logo" petition, people will actually see your name from among the sparse few who have added their names. Try finding your name in the OTHER petition with over 40,000 names.

9. The new Simpson's movie is now a must see! I'm sure the creators are doing a last minute edit of the final print in order to include some crude reference to the London 2012 Olympics.

8. Just when you thought William Hill ran out of things to open a book on - now we can wager on a brand and get 5-1 odds that it will be scrapped before the end of the year.

7. Since the logo is offered in several different colours, it will be easier to coordinate it with your new summer wardrobe.

6. The "everyone" theme really comes through since everyone will be able to draw the logo.

5. Most people can enjoy it without fear of hospitalization.

4. If you stare at it for several minutes, it doesn't change.

3. If you stare at it for a few years it will very gradually change into something different (without the big teaser campaign, and hopefully without anyone noticing).

2. Finally, we'll get some use out of the magenta ink cartridges in our printers.

And the number one reason why we should love the new London 2012 Olympic logo...

1. It's so much fun jumping on the bandwagon to hate it!

Monday, June 04, 2007

Interpreting The 2014 Olympic Bid Evaluation Report

Today the IOC released the 2014 Olympic bid evaluation report - an 84-page document outlining the details of each of the three bids gleaned from the bid books and site evaluation visits.

Shortly after its release, news reports rolled out giving various opinions of "who's in the lead".

My first comment is: most IOC members don't read the evaluation report. Those who do read it will still cast secret ballots on election day and vote according to their own motives, agendas and interests. Unless the report documents a severe lack of qualifications for a bid, it will have very little impact.

However, in an ironic twist, the media's reaction to such reports could have an impact if the IOC member is easily suggestible.

Some reports, such as this piece from Reuters, have put Salzburg and PyeongChang ahead of Sochi based on some wording in the "concept" section of the evaluation report. While Sochi's concept was described as "very good" the other two bids were said to have "excellent" concepts. But the bid's concept is only a small portion of the overall plan. In the IOC Candidature guide the concept refers only to strategies and vision for the Games, such as venue layouts and plans.

In the past the IOC published an final overall opinion in the report that would refer to a bid's ability to organize the Games - terms such as excellent, good and very good could be used to differentiate the bids. But this method is no longer used and it seems some reporters have erroneously misdirected this qualitative tool.

This CNN International report seems to draw the same conclusion as above.

Bloomberg reports that PyeongChang had the best evaluation due to lack of criticizm in the report. This is from more of an overall perspective and likely a lot more valid.

From my perspective, Salzburg seemed the weakest out of this report. The bid was criticized more frequently and more harshly than the other two bids including the almost unnecessary comment that "presentations lacked detail". It almost seems the IOC was trying to make a point.

Other more critical comments were notes on the lack of various guarantees required by the IOC and below-minimum accomodation standards as well as a possibly insufficient budget and underestimated security requirements. Perhaps the most damaging information about Salzburg was the low 42% public support received by the bid in an IOC poll. These are not minor items.

While the IOC is legitimately concerned with Sochi's mammoth construction plans, there were few other significant deficiencies mentioned - and their concept was only "very good".

PyeongChang seemed to come out of this process the most unscathed. The only real criticizm seemed to be a venue with too many seats, something that could easily be resolved. With the top public support numbers in the IOC poll and general praise throughout, it seems the Evaluation Commission has made its subliminal choice.

But "winners" of evaluation reports don't always win the bid. Over 100 IOC members vote on election day and they really don't care what the Evaluation Commission thinks.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

June 4 Is a Busy Day For Future Olympics

I won't get much rest tomorrow. I'm not sure who sets schedules at the IOC but someone missed a conflict.

I'll be in North America but I'll be working on European time as the focus of future Olympic Games will be on London, Lausanne and Paris.

First in Lausanne, Switzerland the evaluation report for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games bids will be released to the bidders at 8:30am local time and then released to the rest of the world at 9:00am. Shortly after that in Paris, the Sochi bid committee will hold a press conference about their results.

The release of this report autuomatically occurs 1 month prior to the bid election that has long been scheduled for July 4.

Then, at 11:00am local time in London, the organizing committee for the 2012 Olympics will release their new brand and logo on the Internet - then they will "officially" release it at 11:40am at Roundhouse in London. This is typically a huge event of much significance - the new brand will arguably become one of the most recognizable symbols in the world.

With the tight 2014 Olympic bid race possibly hinging on the content of the evaluation report and the release of a new logo and slogan for the 2012 Olympic Games, the look of an entire quadrennial of Olympic Games could be shaped within 180 minutes Monday morning in Europe.

It's kind of a big day. will be among the first to publish the 2014 evaluation report and display the new London 2012 logo online. We'll have some exclusive interviews and comments so be sure to drop by.