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  • Istanbul, Tokyo Tied in Race for 2020 Olympics


    05/27/13

    (ATR) In this third edition of the Around the Rings Olympic Bid Power Index, Istanbul picks up the pace to run even with Tokyo, which has led each of the previous rankings.

    Istanbul and Tokyo both score 78 out of 100 points, Madrid with 72.

    The big news is the surge for Istanbul based on the improvements in accommodation, finance, legacy, security and transportation. Madrid lost ground in bid operation and marketing while gaining strength with its venue plan.

    Tokyo loses a mark in bid operation but picks up a point with its venue plan and in public support.

    This latest edition of the Power Index includes the experience of visits to each city by the ATR team during the tour of the IOC Evaluation Commission in March. The written assessment from the commission is expected sometime in June.

    The index, now in its ninth year, is a measure of the relative strength of the cities seeking the Olympic Games. The index is based on first-hand visits to the bid cities, interviews with bid leaders and experts.

    The bids are rated across 11 categories, nine of them worth 10 points each, two worth five each due to their more subjective nature (ambiance and last Olympics hosted).

    ATR Olympic Bid Power Index -May 2013
    Categories:
    Istanbul
    Madrid
    Tokyo
    Ambiance (out of 5)
    5 (5)
    4 (4)
    4 (4)
    Accommodation
    8 (7)
    8 (8)
    9 (9)
    Bid Operation

    7 (7)
    6 (7)
    7 (8)
    Finance
    8 (7)
    6 (6)
    8 (8)
    Last Games (out of 5)
    5 (5)
    4 (4)
    3 (3)
    Legacy
    8 (7)
    6 (6)
    8 (8)
    Marketing
    7 (7)
    6 (7)
    7 (7)
    Public Support
    9 (9)
    8 (8)
    7 (6)
    Security
    7 (6)
    7 (7)
    7 (7)
    Transportation
    7 (6)
    8 (8)
    9 (9)
    Venue Plans
    7 (7)
    9 (8)
    9 (8)
    POWER INDEX

    TOTALS
    78 (73)
    72 (73)
    78 (77)

    Istanbul
     
    Istanbul’s better score takes into account the experiences of the IOC commission visit. The visit demonstrated the allure of the city as a destination, with scenic views unmatched by the rivals. The strength of the Turkish economy and the commitment of the government to host the Games has provided confidence missing from the past four Istanbul bids. At the same time government leaders will need to avoid cockiness or saying the wrong things, such as “Istanbul deserves the Olympics”.
    The Bosphorus, which connects the Marmara Sea in the west to the Black Sea in the east, provides some stunning backdrops for Istanbul's bid. (ATR)

    Major improvements to the city’s transport are in progress but even with the new projects, Istanbul’s venues are less compact than Madrid or Tokyo. While a ceremonies stadium in the redeveloped port on the Asian side of the Bosphorus seems to be an exciting concept, the journey for athletes will be long from the village.

    Security issues bear watching with the border of Syria a potential flashpoint, while positive steps are being taken to end the Kurdish separatist conflict. Turkey is also in the spotlight for press freedom issues.

    Tokyo

    Tokyo led off the three-city IOC tour delivering a precise example of the organization with which it would deliver the Games. The compact nature of the bid was emphasized with short travel times to venues for the IOC team as well as media. Of the three, it offers the best venue for golf, but the course is 90 minutes from the Olympic Village.
    IOC Evaluation Commission members enjoyed this bird's eye view of the pier proposed for Tokyo's Olympic and Paralympic Village. (ATR)

    Comments from Tokyo Metropolitan Governor Naoki Inose in April about Istanbul led to an apology from him, but the bid still will have to be on guard against further impolitic communications. The national government continues to raise hackles in China and Korea over historical disputes, another possible distraction for a Tokyo bid. Finally, the unresolved remediation of the Fukushima nuclear plant and relief efforts for tsunami victims is still a side issue affecting the image of Japan.

    Despite this, public support for the Tokyo bid has surged since first polling indicated that barely half the public supported the Games. And like Istanbul, the Tokyo bid benefits from positive economic numbers that would support an Olympic Games.

    Madrid

    Economics continue to be a drag on the Madrid bid. Latest unemployment figures above 27 percent and a contracting national economy would seem to be risk factors the IOC would avoid. It’s also a challenge to see how such malaise will make it possible to meet revenue targets for marketing to help finance the Games.
    The view from Caso de Campo, one of the world's largest urban parks and proposed venue for golf if Madrid wins the 2020 Olympics. (ATR)

    Still, among the three bids, Madrid offers a plan for the Games that may be closer to ready than its two competitors. An Olympic Village is the major outstanding project, but much of the venue structure is in place. Traveling from cluster to cluster in March, the IOC commission had to be impressed with the quick travel times, even for trips across the city.

    Too bad for Madrid that it fumbled press operations for the IOC evaluation commission visit. While recovering somewhat, it’s symptomatic of a larger communications deficit for the bid on the international level.

    On the other hand Spain is the only bid with three IOC members, two of them presidents of international federations.

    But to be taken seriously by the IOC, a Madrid bid will need to have Spanish anti-doping laws strengthened and on the books by the time the IOC votes for 2020 in September. Not fixed, this deficiency could cost the race for this third consecutive bid.

    The Categories Explained

    10 points for each category, except Ambiance and Bid Operation, which are scored 5 points each, due to more subjective aspects of these categories. This results in a total possible score of 100 points across the 11 categories.

    Accommodation: Quantity, quality

    Ambiance: Is the city comfortable, tourist-friendly, a pleasure to visit?

    Bid Operation: Leadership, strategy and public relations

    Games Cost and Finance: Projected bill for the Olympics and infrastructure, unusual finance risks. Higher scores indicate lower costs, strong financials.

    Last Games in the Country: Years since last summer or winter Olympics. The higher the score, the longer since the last Games.

    Legacy: Impact of the Olympics in a city; sustainable venues

    Marketing: The size and impact of marketing programs

    Government & Public Support: The commitment of government and population to a Games

    Security: Reputation and quality of security, perceptions of risk

    Transportation: Ease of travel, multiple transport options, airports, quality of public transit, taxis

    Venues and Experience: Overall plan for the Games, experience handling other large scale events.

    Written by Ed Hula.

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