Hamburg withdrawal no major concern at IOC

Wed Dec 9, 2015 5:55am EST
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By Karolos Grohmann

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (Reuters) - The surprise rejection of Hamburg's 2024 Olympics bid made it to the International Olympic Committee agenda at their Executive Board meeting this week but while experts warn the Games may have been 'tarnished', the IOC is convinced external reasons forced the city's withdrawal.

Hamburg became the second city to pull out of the 2024 race, after Boston, when citizens of the German city voted against a bid 10 days ago.

Four cities had also pulled out of the 2022 winter Games bidding process but IOC President Thomas Bach said it was not the Games' size or cost that scared people in Hamburg but a string of other reasons, including the Paris attacks, ongoing world sports scandals and the refugee crisis in Europe among others.

IOC spokesman Mark Adams confirmed on Tuesday Executive Board members had discussed the Hamburg issue, with Bach outlining the reasons for the rejection of the world's biggest multi-sports event, but there did not seem to be a lengthy analysis of the referendum result.

Marketing experts, however, are seeing a pattern of cities pulling out of the Games, especially from Europe, affected also by the very nature of the Games themselves.

"Obviously there is the economic interpretation that the Games cost too much money and there is no tangible return on investment," Simon Chadwick, professor at the Centre for Sports Business, Salford University, told Reuters.

"In the post-austerity era Europeans are a lot more sensitive in getting value for money.

"Clearly people seem to be unconvinced. Hospitals are being closed, school places reduced and we see that across Europe. Staging a sports event is not that important."   Continued...

General view of the harbour of Hamburg with construction side Philharmonic Hall, May 12, 2014. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer