January 15, 2015 / 2:03 PM / 4 years ago

IOC hopeful bid reform will trigger 2024 Games interest

BERLIN (Reuters) - The International Olympic Committee launched a newly-created invitation phase for potential bid cities for the 2024 summer Games on Thursday, confident the reformed process will trigger more interest in hosting the Olympics.

So far Germany with Hamburg or Berlin, Rome and Boston have declared their intentions to bid for the showpiece but Olympic Games Executive Director Christophe Dubi said on Wednesday more would come.

“I think yes, that it will trigger a real interest,” Dubi said in a conference call at the start of the invitation phase, with the IOC informing all national Olympic Committees in a letter on Thursday.

This phase to run until the September deadline for submission of a candidacy is aimed at giving cities a clearer idea on the Games and giving them the chance to see how they may or may not fit into their urban development, social and economic plans.

The IOC voted for an overhaul of the bid process in December after four of the six candidate cities for the 2022 winter Olympics dropped out in mid-race — concerned over costs or lack of public support.

Mounting costs associated with hosting the Games have been scaring off cities with Russia’s Sochi 2014 winter Olympics shattering every record with a $51 billion price tag according to Russian officials.

Only Beijing and Kazakhstan’s Almaty have been left in the 2022 race and neither city is a major winter sports powerhouse, leaving the IOC to attempt and polish up their prime product and make it more lucrative and attractive to cities.

“With the IOC open to explain what can be an impressive and somewhat overwhelming endeavour, it will be interesting for many National Olympic Committees,” Dubi said.

Apart from the three official candidates for 2024, several more cities, including Istanbul, Doha, Budapest and Paris are seen as likely contenders.

“How many we will have in the end is a really good question,” Dubi said. “We could have two scenarios. Only cities that have a project or a very strong idea, so a decent or limited number. Or it could be overwhelming with many NOCs having questions.

“Whether it will be six, seven or 10 or 25 interested is very hard to tell (at this time).”

editing by Justin Palmer

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