— Published 4 December 2020

To deliver the Olympics, Paris 2024 looks outwards

They promised to break the codes. To this day, they stick to it. The organizers of the Paris 2024 Games presented, on Thursday, December 3rd, their new delivery model for the Olympic and Paralympic event. It is unique in its design, with a massive appeal to external service providers.

Forgotten is the image of an overstaffed Games organizing committee, taking possession of the competition venues with the manners of owning the venues, before returning it to their operators once the curtain has fallen. For the sake of savings and “desire for efficiency”, the OCOG Paris 2024 has revised its copy. With a new code of conduct : trusting existing skills. Clearly, let recognized specialists retain control of the venues and the organisation during the Games and their preparation.

The model was unveiled to the media on Thursday, December 3, early in the morning, before a larger-scale presentation later in the day in front of nearly 300 players in the sports industry : providers, federations, event organizers, managers equipment.

In both cases, the same rhetoric : France has real expertise in the organisation of international sporting events, more than 70% of the venues for the 2024 Paris Games are already in existence and operated by specialists. There is no point in trying to reinvent the wheel in such a context.

As a bonus, the delivery model fulfills two bid promises : engagement and legacy. Etienne Thobois, Director General of Paris 2024, explains: “We want to create a real Team France by engaging players in the sports sector, to associate them with our ambition. At the same time, our approach is part of a dynamic logic of the French international market.”

Clarification : the OCOG being subject to public procurement codes, the calls for tenders cannot a priori be reduced to French applicants alone. They will at least have to open up to Europe. Etienne Thobois insists: “The French will have to be the best. As for our athletes at the Paris 2024 Games, playing at home will not be enough to win medals.”

Another clarification : the OCOG will not give up the keys of the house to its external service providers. To the idea of ​​outsourcing, Etienne Thobois prefers the term “co-construction”. “The OCOG will retain all of its prerogatives, but it will rely on delivery partners”, he said. As proof, the presence of an internal pilot on the organizing committee for each of the Olympic and Paralympic venues.

At the start of its reflection, the OCOG had identified 300 business sectors where “co-construction” could be considered. He has since reduced the sails. The list now numbers around 100 activities, including security, catering, logistics, management of boxes and reception of spectators.

So much for the concept. Resolutely turned towards the world afterwards, even if it had been outlined before the health crisis. For the figures, however, it will be necessary to be patient. When asked about the amount of contracts that will be opened to the outside world, Etienne Thobois is vague. “We’re not there yet, he replies. But the total amount of the Paris 2024 Games contracts amounts to 2.5 billion euros. And over 70% of them relate to the delivery of the event.” Plentiful, then.

The same vagueness still surrounds the reduction in recruitments initially planned by the OCOG. They will be revised downwards, but the proportions have not yet been assessed. Etienne Thobois : “We started with a workforce of 4,500 people one year before the Games, to finally reach 8,000 during the event. The drop will be significant.”

Three pilot venues have been chosen by the OCOG to launch the mechanics : the Golf national de Saint-Quentin, in the Yvelines, the Yves-du-Manoir stadium in Colombes (field hockey), and the Paris La Défense Arena (swimming race).

The calls for tenders will be launched in three successive waves, between March 2021 and the beginning of 2022, with the objective of presenting at the end of 2002 a clear and precise picture of how the Paris 2024 Games will be delivered. The third and final wave will concern the football tournament venues.