Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Under Further Review: Tokyo Wins Bid for 2020 Olympics

There was no perfect choice when it came to choosing the host city for the 2020 Summer Olympics.  Madrid's bid was hindered by Spain's atrocious economic climate, and the Olympics are an expensive show that must go on.  Istanbul is dealing with civil unrest, the kind that puts lives in danger, which really casts a foreboding light over things.  Tokyo's air supply may contain traces of nuclear radiation, but hey the athletes will only be there for three weeks competing at the top of their game needing the best conditions possible and that's certainly not enough time to turn someone into a creature from The Hills Have Eyes, right?

This was Istanbul's fifth attempt at landing the Olympic Games. Madrid was making it's third consecutive attempt. Tokyo was a repeat bidder as well.

Well, the IOC chose the lesser of three evils by picking Tokyo to host the 2020 Summer Games. When the goal was to avoid protests, Tokyo made the most sense of the three.  The largest city in Japan also presented some beautiful renderings of facilities that could be built with the $4.5 billion budget reserved for stadiums.

SPACE AGE: Tokyo’s proposed Olympic Stadium —  a revamped National Stadium — is one of the main venues proposed for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games. The computer-generated image was provided by the Tokyo 2020 bid committee. Picture: REUTERS

Tokyo presented a bid that would reel in spending on the Games, coming in with a budget reportedly between $5 and $6 billion.  Of course, the "O" in Olympics really stands for "over-budget" (er, I think).  Remember that the 2012 London Summer Olympics ran under an initial budget of $3.9 billion which quickly ballooned to over $14.5 billion and the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics ran under an initial budget of $12 billion which will now reportedly cost Russia over around $50 billion.  The 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics cost over $40 billion.

The trend has been moving towards host cities spending three to four times more on the Games than their bid budget, so that logic would put Tokyo 2020 anywhere from $15 billion to $24 billion.  A wide range, indeed.  Japan may want to keep the the spending closer to the proposed budget, though, with a public debt over $10 trillion. In comparison, Istanbul came in with a $16 billion bid and Madrid's bid was $2 billion.

However, there is money to be made. Allegedly, at least.  The Tokyo Metropolitan Government estimates that the economic impact on the region will push $30 billion

Holding the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo will mark the first time since 1964 that the city will host the Summer Games.  Tokyo was also slated to host the 1940 Games before they were cancelled due to World War II.  The 2020 Olympics will mark the third time since 2008 (seven possibilities) that an Asian country will host the Games.  Beijing hosted in 2008 and Pyeongchang, South Korea will host the Winter Games in 2018.

There is still plenty of time for Tokyo and their Olympic organizers to put together an inspiring event.  Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that the 2020 Olympics will be a way for the country to say thank you to the world for their help after a devastating tsunami hit in 2011.

Japan will surely try to avoid the kinds of controversies that have rocked the build-up to the 2014 Sochi Games and the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.  There has been strong public opposition to the strong anti-LGBT legislation that Russian President Vladimir Putin has recently passed and protests have broken out across Brazil fighting back against wasteful spending and corruption in part due to the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics that will be held in the country.  Newly elected IOC President Thomas Bach, who recently took over for Jaques Rogge, will be keeping a close eye on the developments.

NBC will hold the broadcasting rights for the 2020 Games. In fact, the 2020 Olympics will be the last Olympic Games covered under their current deal where the paid $4.4 billion to broadcast the 2014, 2016, 2018, and 2020 Games.  NBC has held the broadcasting rights for the Olympics since 1988.

Tokyo may not have been the best choice to host the 2020 Olympics, but it will surely do.  The money is safe, civil unrest is the lowest of the three finalists, and the air-quality will surely be monitored as the Games approach.  Organizers must be careful with the air quality, however, because athlete safety should be the peak concern. Clearly, Tokyo's grandiose potential is difficult to ignore.  Like it or not, lyet the countdown to Tokyo 2020 begin.


Kevin Rossi is a junior Drexel Sport Management major with minors in Communications and Business Administration. Kevin has worked at Double Eagle Golf where he is now Social Media Coordinator and Comcast-Spectacor as their market research intern. Since joining the SMTSU, Kevin has worked his way up the ladder to President. Currently, Kevin is a staff writer for Philahoops.com, and he has joined Temple University Athletics Communications for co-op this spring/summer.  Follow Kevin on Twitter @kevin_rossi.

Connect with Kevin Rossi on LinkedIn.


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