Within a couple of days the citizens of two western European cities have voted against bidding for the Olympic Games. The Canton of Graubünden rejected a bid for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games with a close margin of votes, while 72% of all votes casted in a referendum in Vienna were against bidding for the 2028 Olympic Games. The reason for rejecting Olympic bids by the populations of both regions has been reported as the same: The main concern was related with the high costs of staging the Games. People seemed to perceive that the benefits associated with hosting the Games do not warrant such an expense. Furthermore significant cost overruns in most editions of past Games added to concerns.
Today’s decision by the Italian government to decline its support to the Italian NOC in its bid for the 2020 Olympic Games could well mark a turning point for major sports event hosting. The rise of Emerging Economies as major event hosts has been evident over the past years. Those countries have the financial resources and the political will to stage World Cups or Olympic Games at any cost. A major driving factor is the gain in international prestige.
A month ago the IOC announced the decision of its Executive Board on which of the 5 Applicant cities passed to the Candidate Phase for the 2020 Olympic Games. The result is well known with Istanbul, Madrid and Tokyo making the cut and Baku and Doha sent back to the start.