© Copyright – 2024 – Athletics Illustrated

“Hans plays with Lotte, Lotte plays with Jane
Jane plays with Willi, Willi is happy again
Suki plays with Leo, Sacha plays with Britt
Adolf builds a bonfire, Enrico plays with it”

— Peter Gabriel, Games without Frontiers

Nine billion euros (USD $9.78 billion) is the current provisional cost for putting on the 2024 Paris Olympic Games. This is why the Games can only be hosted by the world’s elite cities in first-world countries.

The costs are out of reach and not justifiable.

From Paris, the first president of the Court of Auditors, Pierre Moscovici, said “The bill will rise up to five billion more” — ouch.

The cost of hosting the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2021 was ¥1.69 trillion (USD $12.8 billion), Japanese auditors cited a sum that was 20 per cent more than how much the organizing committee reported. Rio cost USD $13.1 billion.

With fewer than five months to go, the Games’ biggest revenue generators are locked down, and under contract and major revenues are known. International streaming and broadcasting rights and major sponsors will all be under contract. While total revenues would be unknown, the number is likely more settled than the unkempt costs of putting on the Games. Security would be a major issue due to the current instability in Russia, Ukraine and the Gaza Strip.

Security

Approximately €320 million (about USD $350 million) has been allocated for security. Considering that France’s government declared security at its highest threat level on March 24, it is assumed that spending on security, like the sun, will also rise.

The Islamic State took responsibility for a recent Moscow attack. Wars are now borderless as we discovered during the 911 event in 2000 — games without frontiers is an apt metaphor here. Hopefully, the instability around Europe settles for these Games. Considering Putin’s alleged fraudulent re-election expect the war to rage on.

According to International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach, there are 28 other conflicts ongoing at this time. He tackily used the facts to defend supporting Russia’s participation in the Paris Games. He switched his position recently, rejecting the serial cheating warmongers.

Meanwhile, Ethiopia, where some of the world’s best middle and long-distance runners come from is under constant threat from the Tigray War. Lest we forget the volatile Middle East, Myanmar, Sudan, and Haiti.

Ticket sales

Because of COVID, Tokyo could not generate much revenue income on live attendance. At least Paris tickets are selling well. According to the organizers on May 23, 2023, 6.8 million tickets had been sold for the Olympic Games. Paris subsequently released another 400,000 new Games tickets last year. The organizers expect €1.24 billion of revenue from ticket sales alone (excluding hospitality) as well as €109 million for the Olympic ceremony along the Seine.

The ceremony promises to be the greatest of all time. At least the Seine is a body of water devoid of sharks to jump.

Sponsorship

The organizers claim to be on target to hit the sponsorship total revenue target of €1.24bn.

Tony Estanguet, president of the organizing committee, told the Associated Press in July 2023 that more than 20 new partners signed up since the start of the year. He also revealed that the Games have surpassed the €1 billion mark in sponsorship revenue. The takeaway was a final amount of upwards of €1.24 billion. And the French pray that the 20 per cent exaggerated leeway taken up by Tokyo is not employed here.

Would-be hosts are backing out

The 1996 Atlanta Games nearly hit $1 billion. It is agreed that by current accounting, the value is well over $1 billion. That was the year of the Coca-Cola Games, as they were referred to. There was a bomb blast in a restaurant, a gauche display of sponsors and escalating costs. London and Rio, then Tokyo now Paris budgets are out of reach. All are well over two billion euros. Paris at potentially nine billion and possibly more. It is indeed jumping the shark.

Oslo, Norway, and Stockholm, Sweden backed out of bidding on the 2022 Winter Games. The event, of course, went to Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Boston, USA withdrew from bidding on the 2024 Games — not prepared to mortgage the soul of the city or state of Massachusetts. The 2024 leading bidders, Budapest, Hungary, Hamburg, Germany, and Rome, Italy all withdrew, leaving only Los Angeles and Paris. The IOC — for the first time — granted the Games to the two cities in one go with 2024 going to Paris and 2028 to Los Angeles.

As was said to great public disdain in 1765 and again two decades later, “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche,” or let them eat cake.

Thank you, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Marie Antionette, but we all know what happened to them. He died of cerebral bleeding resulting in an apoplectic stroke and she lost her head and the French rejoiced in a revolution.

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