Paris, Hamburg or Rome? Boston or Budapest? On the day that the French capital officially announced its candidature to host the 2024 Olympic Games, here is a look at the strong and weak points of the main contenders:
- Political power is behind the bid, after the Italian capital cancelled its bid in 2012 to host the 2020 Games. Rome has made three unsuccessful attempts to stage the Olympics in recent years: for the 1992, 2008 and 2012 Games.
- An experienced and high-profile bid leader in former Ferrari President Luca Di Montezemolo, who heads the organising committee. The 67-year-old international sports and business veteran also led the organisation of the 1990 FIFA World Cup in Italy.
- The bid is expected to include many of the venues from 1960, when Rome last hosted the Olympics.
- The city’s ancient sites could be showcased at the Games, with medal ceremonies potentially being held at the Colosseum.
- IOC president Thomas Bach has already said “Rome is a very strong and appreciated candidate for the 2024 Olympic Games”.
- The eternal city is famed for its traffic jams. Public transport is also well below the standard expected.
- The Italian economy is still struggling. The 2020 bid was scrapped because of financial concerns.
- The Italian capital’s past record may count against it. Mayor Ignazio Marino has expressed concern over debts and failed construction projects from the 1960 Games, the 1990 World Cup – and the 2009 World Swimming Championships, whose legacy includes ongoing corruption cases.
- It is the first time the city has applied. If Hamburg is selected, it will be the first time the Games are held in Germany since Munich 1972.
- There is plenty of space available and the city has an excellent public transport system.
- The German economy is strong.
- Popular support for the Games (64 percent of the city’s population backed it in a survey earlier this year) could be cemented in a referendum on the issue planned for November.
- The Hamburg bid includes a cost-conscious development plan to build on disused land, use existing venues and convert facilities after the Games.
- Ambitious plans to build a new concert hall for the Hamburg Elbphilharmonie went awry with its opening constantly delayed, and costs that ran ten times over-budget.
- After four applications (and as many failures) in 30 years, the city has learned from past mistakes. The bid’s prominent faces are likely to include more medallists, and fewer grey-suited businessmen and politicians.
- Construction sites are almost all identified and most of the sporting infrastructure already exists. Some of the best known tourist sites such as the Eiffel Tower parks and the Invalides Esplanade could be used for competition.
- Paris would be hosting the Olympics in its centenary year, having last staged the summer games in 1924.
- Mayor Anne Hidalgo aims to “highlight the unity and solidarity of a cosmopolitan city” after being impressed by public reaction to January’s Islamist terror attacks.
- IOC president Thomas Bach told President Hollande last April that Paris would make a “very, very strong candidate” for 2024.
- Public support could be dented by bad memories of the failed application for the 2012 Games, when Paris the favourite was pipped at the last by bitter rival London.
- Sport infrastructures are numerous in Boston, the state of Massachusetts and New England.
- Mitt Romney, former Massachusetts governor and president of the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games organising committee, is on board.
- The city has notoriously bad traffic and there are concerns over how public transport projects will be funded.
- The city would need to build a 60,000-capacity stadium.
- Popular support for a Boston bid is distinctly lacking, leading to fears that a planned referendum on the issue could be a “public relations catastrophe”.
- Hungary has never organised the Olympic Games despite five attempts, the most recent back in 1960.
- The city has pledged a small budget, in keeping with the objectives of the IOC’s 2020 Agenda.
- Hungary is eighth in terms of Olympic medals in the Games’ history.
- After being approved by the city council, the bid is also likely to get the backing of the Hungarian Parliament in July.
- the government has yet to decide whether or not to endorse the bid, with one senior official admitting that one of the risks to hosting the Games is corruption.
- One newspaper estimated the costs of staging the Games in Budapest could exceed the government’s estimate by up to fivefold.
- No eastern European country has hosted the Games since Russia in 1980 (when the Moscow Games were boycotted by several countries after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan), although this could also count in Budapest’s favour.
Bids must be submitted by September 15 this year. The International Olympic Committee is due to select the winning host city on September 15, 2017.