IOC mulls revamp of Games bid process, sports and risk

Wed Feb 5, 2014 4:14am EST
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By Karolos Grohmann

SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - From a cheaper bidding process to hosting Games in more than one city, the International Olympic Committee opened the floor to suggestions on Wednesday as it looks to keep the world's biggest multi-sports event popular and profitable in the years ahead.

The IOC reaps massive profits from the Games but the organization is alarmed at dwindling numbers of candidates for host cities, rising costs and social opposition to the Olympics.

The Sochi Games, which open on Friday, are the most expensive Olympics ever with a price tag of more than $50 billion but questions are being asked if the huge investment is worth it.

Ratings agency Moody's said in a report on Wednesday that the Sochi Games were unlikely to provide much of a boost to the Russian economy.

President Vladimir Putin has staked his personal and political prestige on hosting a successful Games and turning the Black Sea resort into a more attractive tourism destination.

Several cities have already pulled out of the race to host the 2022 Winter Games amid concerns about rising costs, while protests in Brazil ahead of this year's World Cup and the 2016 Rio Olympics have further highlighted the problems associated with hosting mega sports events.

Starting with the Olympic bidding process itself, IOC members said revisions were needed.

"We believe we should do more to support better bid cities in their engagement," IOC Vice President John Coates said at the start of the organization's session in Sochi.   Continued...

John Coates, International Olympic Committee (IOC) Vice President and Chairman of the Coordination Commission for the Games of the XXXII Olympiad - Tokyo 2020, attends a news conference in Tokyo November 20, 2013. REUTERS/Issei Kato