— Published 6 July 2023

The Paris 2024 Games, expensive but presumed profitable

The countdown to the Paris 2024 Games has not yet passed the ever-mediatized one-year mark before the opening (D – 386 this Thursday, July 6). But studies on the impact of the Olympic and Paralympic event are already piling up on the COJO’s doorstep.

The latest was published on Wednesday July 5. Inspired by research carried out by the Centre de droit et d’économie du sport de Limoges (CDES), the benchmark in this field, it has been completed by an information mission of the French National Assembly. AFP has seen a copy.

Lesson number one: the Games are going to make a lot of money. We suspected as much. But how much? The study is still hesitant. Its conclusions range from a low estimate of 5.3 billion dollars, a few hundred million euros more than the OCOG’s current budget, re-evaluated at the end of last year at 4.4 billion euros, to a more optimistic estimate of 10.7 billion euros. Double, then.

Please note: these two figures relate only to the Ile-de-France region, which is most concerned by the competition venues, but also by the awarding of contracts, tourism spin-offs and job creation. The main beneficiary, but not the only one. Other regions can also anticipate economic benefits from the Games. Marseille, in particular, will host the sailing events and several matches in the soccer tournament. Lille, too, where the basketball elimination rounds and handball finals are scheduled. Châteauroux, too, chosen as Plan B for the shooting competitions.

The gap between the two estimates is not insignificant. If economist Pierre Rondeau, a professor at the Sports Management School, is to be believed, the lower end of the range now seems the more realistic option. “The report’s pessimistic scenario would be the most significant, he suggests, in view of previous Olympics or other major international sporting events.”

By way of comparison, a CDES study published in 2017 estimated the economic impact of Euro 2016 in France at 1.22 billion euros for the entire country.

Unsurprisingly, tourism looks set to be the big winner. A no-brainer. The OCOG has already sold nearly 7 million tickets for the Olympic Games alone. Not all of them have been purchased by residents of Paris or the Ile-de-France region. The sector alone could account for between a quarter and more than a third of the spin-offs. International visitors could account for 36% of the economic impact of the Olympic Games and 18% of the Paralympic Games.

The parliamentary report expects over 15 million tourists (15.9) to attend the Paris 2024 Games, more than in a normal year. In terms of numbers and spending, they are expected to largely replace the usual visitors, who are reluctant to come to the French capital and its region in an Olympic year.

Another mast of cocagne: the contracts awarded by the COJO and SOLIDEO, in charge of delivering the sites, to companies by the thousands. To date, 663 million euros worth of contracts have already been secured by nearly 2,000 SMEs (1,891). No less than 15.5% of these contracts have been won by companies based in the Seine-Saint-Denis département.

The National Assembly’s report praises SOLIDEO’s performance on the issue of employing people on work integration contracts. Shortly after its creation, SOLIDEO undertook to set aside 10% of available working hours for them. By mid-June, more than 80% of the planned hours had been filled.

Another lesson from the study is that the Olympic and Paralympic Games themselves will account for a significant proportion of the economic impact. This is anything but a scoop. Competitions, organization, support for the delegations and other players (officials, media, volunteers, etc.), could represent a windfall of 2.372 billion euros.

But the French economy will have to be generous. The report points out that 47.5% of purchasing expenditure will benefit the official partners, the OCOG for the national marketing program, and the IOC for its international version. “A portion of the economic spin-offs will ultimately escape French companies“, the document insists.