— Published 8 June 2023

For Paris 2024, LVMH or nothing at all

The tone may have been surprising. The words even more so. The sixth and penultimate meeting of the Paris 2024 Games Coordination Commission came to a close on Wednesday June 7 in Saint-Denis, with a press conference at which it might have seemed to the attending media that they were being taken on a journey back in time.

With 415 days to go until the opening of the Olympic Games, Pierre-Olivier Beckers, President of the Commission, spoke as if the event were not yet upon us, but had just ended. He offered his “congratulations” and those of the IOC to Tony Estanguet and his team. He spoke of the Paris 2024 Games as an edition “of a new era, an inflection point for the modern Games, a new model of the Games, inclusive, sustainable and supportive“. He confided that he was convinced, and the Olympic body with him, that there would be a “before and after Paris 2024.” Don’t waste any more.

Excessive? For an event whose first test-events have yet to take place, certainly. But the two and a half days spent at the OCOG headquarters and on inspection visits to two competition venues – the future Olympic Aquatics Centre (pictured above) and Roland-Garros – must have convinced the IOC delegation that the Paris team was on the right track.

Pierre-Olivier Beckers opened the press conference by pledging to leave with “a very high level of confidence“. He went on to swear that the IOC had never, ever been in the comfortable position of having “no concerns” about the construction of the venues. The day before, however, the Belgian leader had opened the visit by reminding us that the OCOG still had “a lot of work to do“. He warned that the work would remain “tense right to the end”, particularly on the question of budget control.

The budget, in fact. Pierre-Olivier Beckers didn’t even lower his praise for the Parisian organizers when it came to this issue. He reminded the media that revenues were increasing. He mentioned that 15 new partners had been brought on board since the start of the year. Finally, he predicted that the OCOG should reach its stated goal of having 92% of sponsorship revenues by the end of 2023 without too much anxiety.

All would be well in a cloud-free Olympic world, were it not for the fact that the arrival of a new premium partner, the first level of the national marketing program, has been announced for months but is still being postponed. The COJO has five such partners (BPCE, Carrefour, EDF, Orange, Sanofi). A sixth wouldn’t hurt.

In response to a question from FrancsJeux, Tony Estanguet confirmed that discussions are still underway with the luxury goods group LVMH. Nothing new there. “We want to promote French companies, particularly those with internationally recognized expertise, he explained. We believe that the values of the LVMH group – creativity, audacity – would help strengthen the Paris 2024 project. Such a partnership would give it a different dimension. We’re working on it. But it takes time. We have to be careful, nothing’s signed yet.

Following on from this, Tony Estanguet confided that Bernard Arnault’s group was the only potential first-tier partner likely to join the adventure, with just over 400 days to go until the opening ceremony. “There are no other companies that could become premium partners,” he admitted. In short, LVMH or nothing. At least for the highest level of the pyramid.