Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) President Marcel Aubut confirmed in an interview with Canadian Broadcasting Corporation that Toronto is likely to join the competition to host the Summer Olympic Games in 2024. Aubut and many other sports leaders are in Toronto for today’s 2015 Pan American Games closing ceremony. A high degree of satisfaction by athletes, officials, spectators and broadcasters can provide positive momentum for Toronto’s Olympic bid advocates.
A potential bid for Toronto to host the 2024 Olympic Games would follow the lead of Rio de Janeiro, which hosted the Pan American Games in 2007 and was subsequently selected to host the 2016 Summer Olympic Games when the International Olympic Committee met in October 2009. Having an existing infrastructure and a tested team that proved they could manage a major international sporting event was an effective sales point. Redeploying a core group from the existing Toronto 2015 organization could give a Toronto bid a significant competitive advantage over alternative bids from Europe, where recruiting event staff often takes six months or more. And recent reports are hinting that a bid by Boston to host the 2024 Summer Olympics could lose essential support as public opposition to the bid and a lack of commitment by Massachusetts Governor Charles Baker challenge bid supporters.
As the 2015 Pan American Games conclude, cities looking to host Olympic events in the future, including Toronto, can look at these key success factors which earned Toronto 2015 positive reviews:
- Affordable tickets. A good selection of premium seats for VIP’s, enthusiastic sports fans, and business clients of sponsors is important for major sports events. While Toronto 2015 delivered this requirement, it also built a broad community of support for the games that leveraged social media to build a very large international audience. The average ticket price for events at Toronto 2015 was forty Canadian dollars, about US$32. A typical family of four could experience a game in person within their means and then stay tuned in on television – a success formula that has helped the value of broadcast rights rise to over US$4 billion for a four year Olympic cycle.
- Athlete accommodations. Parents of athletes competing in the Pan American Games reported 100% satisfaction with accommodations and meals at the Pan American Athletes Village. The athletes also appreciated having a choice of appealing urban amenities nearby for shopping, dining and evening entertainment when they had time after their competitions.
- Creative programming. The Toronto 2015 torch relay generated advance publicity over a wide area. The dazzling opening ceremony designed by Cirque du Soleil extended the audience well beyond the core group of dedicated sports fans. The mascot organization operated almost like a sports team, with seventeen different actors and actresses projecting a uniform image for the Pan American Games. The Panamania cultural festival attracted huge crowds with programming that was as international as the games themselves.
- Media and community outreach. Premium news outlets like CBC and ESPN get exclusive access to top tier events. It is only fair since these broadcasters contribute an important share of the expense budget. But Toronto 2015 media relations planners recognized that there are many other audiences and specialty news outlets are an effective way to reach them. Local media outlets from all 41 nations participating in the Pan American Games as well as foreign trade publications like “Inside the Games” had access to the Main Press Center and could arrange additional coverage of special events.
- Volunteer management. The only effective way to manage the huge volume of activities that take place during three weeks of special events is to prepare thousands of volunteers to do their part when the workload soars. It is not easy. These individuals have different professional and customer service training and different work habits. A combination of training, social activities and effective supervision enabled most of the volunteers to keep everything running smoothly.