Delayed start. In the world before the pandemic, the Tokyo Games should have been the starting signal for French local authorities in the race to host foreign teams and delegations before the Paris 2024 Games.
But the sanitary crisis was a game-changer. It has shortened the Olympiad by one year. The catalog of potential Games Preparation Centers (GPC) was of course closed by the OCOG. It gathers 415 territories and 620 back bases (750 communities had applied). The offer is now accessible. But the candidates are deprived of the opportunity to meet the representatives of national Olympic committees from the entire world with the Tokyo Games.
The timing is off. But what about the strategies? FrancsJeux interviewed an expert, Jérémy Botton, managing director of the agency Spartner.
FrancsJeux: Did the postponement of the Tokyo Games by one year and the ban of non-accredited foreigners from Japan upset the cities’ and territories’ strategy applying to become GPC for the Paris 2024 Games?
Jérémy Botton: In part, yes. The Olympiad has been shortened by one year. The Tokyo Games should have been the occasion for the candidates to introduce themselves, to meet the NTD or the representatives of the foreign national committees, to try to convince them. But this strategy of approach is no longer possible because of the restrictions imposed by the Japanese. The strategies are upset. The Tokyo Games were so special in their preparation that all the attention of foreign countries was focused on this event, at a time when they should have already been preparing for the Paris 2024 Games.
Do candidate communities have to review their copy?
Above all, they must ask themselves the right questions: what is our positioning, what do we want to do, how can we adapt our offer to our ambitions and our facilities? A GPC application must be part of the territory’s project. It must make sense. Above all, it must take into account the notion of heritage. A foreign team that comes to train somewhere, then departs without leaving anything behind, brings nothing to a city or an agglomeration. Its presence must be accompanied by a well thought-out project. For a region, making the Paris 2024 Games a success isn’t not necessarily a matter of being chosen as a GPC. There are many other ways to participate in the adventure.
The catalog proposed by Paris 2024 lists 415 territories. The competition is going to be severe…
It will be. For the London Games, two thirds of the candidates to host foreign teams or delegations didn’t get anything. With such an offer, it is important for the communities to target their project and to be accompanied to reach their objective.
Has the sanitary crisis discouraged some candidates?
No. The Olympic Games are still very attractive and the mobilization is not waning. But the territories have shifted their priorities. Paris 2024 has been put on the back burner, but communities are waking up. Many things will happen, in this campaign to be a GPC, in the second half of 2021 and throughout 2022.
Doesn’t the experience of the Tokyo Games risk discouraging some countries or sports federations to come and prepare in France before the Paris 2024 Games?
I don’t think so. We are convinced that athletes and teams will have to come to France to prepare for the 2022 and 2023 Games.
Are local authorities still as eager to be part of the adventure of the Paris 2024 Games?
Yes, the impatience is still the same, just delayed by one year. The window of opportunity is narrower, but the Paris 2024 OCOG is doing a good job to mobilize and engage the entire territory. The desire is as strong as ever. And it will keep growing.