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The IOC has a PR problem, they have no solution


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As the IOC practically begs Salt Lake City to save the 2030 Olympics while cities like Vancouver and Sapporo struggle with public support, after watching Calgary which could have had the Olympics given to them on a silver platter in the 2026 race fall apart following a "no" note on a referendum, never mind the likes of Munich, Sion, Hamburg, the list goes on; the IOC has a problem that they are either incapable of addressing or they don't want to address and that's public support. Recent bidding cycles have shown the IOC's message isn't getting through. The reason isn't because of expensive bidding cycles, it's because citizens in many democratic countries are asking themselves "what benefit does hosting the Olympics bring?" The IOC has not been able to reach out on a grassroots level to address this problem despite the so-called New Norm and Agenda 2020, both noble efforts, but they haven't addressed the root problem.

Lots of talk gets mentioned about Sochi's overspending but while I agree that was a catalyst, the problem goes back further, I'd argue to the Great Recession when people started asking themselves what governments were spending their tax money on and whether or not it was worthwhile. That's where the No Olympics movement really took hold. Before the 2022 race where the candidates dropped like flies then when Oslo finally said no thanks and the IOC gave them a tongue lashing that still stings leaving them with Almaty and Beijing, there were warning signs in the 2018 race when only three candidates came forward, one of which would never have made the short list in Annecy though today, France could offer up Annecy with eth exact same plan and it would be welcomed with open arms. Pyeongchang was overbudget and has struggled with legacy of its venues, Tokyo has been discussed ad nauseum, Rio and Athens are classic examples of spending beyond your means. 

Now to the IOC's credit, they did attempt to address the issue with the encouragement of existing and temporary venues to keep costs down but only to a point. Recall that while Tokyo was planning, the organizers proposed using existing venues for aquatics, volleyball, and rowing yet the IOC along with the respective federations raised enough of a fuss to get new venues built that now sit as white elephants and never saw their full Olympic capacity, not to mention all the cash Tokyo had to shell out for the postponement, and the IOC wonder why public support in Sapporo isn't better than what it is. The IOC quickly moved to lock up a double awarding with Paris and Los Angeles, both not only with strong public support, but also are two of the most ready-to-go SOGs hosts in history. Yet when the 2026 race rolled around, it was practically a repeat of what happened in 2022 with candidates dropping out. Rather than address the public support problem, they chose to focus on the bidding process itself and we get the result of 2032. There isn't attempt and maybe the thought process is as long as one candidate is willing and able to pay for the party with reasonably good public support then that's all they need. There was a feeble attempt by the IOC to drum up public support for Calgary's 2026 bid but it failed miraculously especially when John Coates showed up and famously told the media "the games won't cost you anything." Sure, one could argue the quote was taken out of context but it gave the opposition movement fresh ammunition and down the bid went.

If the IOC ever wants to see bids from the likes of Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Norway, Canada, they have to find a way to engage at the grassroots level. They could go a long way towards that by getting rid of two of the individuals largely responsible for this mess, John Coates and Thomas Bach, who have been as caustic to the Olympic movement as battery acid. When a business is failing, you bring in new leadership. Rather the IOC message we've changed. Nothing's changed. The New Norm is a targeting process which I cannot fault the IOC for because even with the Agenda 2020 reforms, realistically when it comes to the SOGs the only places in the world that can pull it off at a reasonable cost with existing infrastructure are the USA, Russia, Western Europe, Japan, Korea, Australia, and China. Forget Africa, South America, and India. The IOC already went down the developing road with Rio and we saw the legacy there. The list is even less for the WOGs. Changing leadership would be a start. Next the IOC has to give a compelling reason to get the public on board, national pride is not enough. Taxpayers are looking at where there money goes. They want to see a return on their investments and rightly so. Barcelona and London had two of the most compelling PR campaigns that I can remember. That's what the IOC needs to get back to. The other major factor is the IOC needs upcoming Olympics to come in on budget.

Huge cost overruns are a killer when it comes to public support. Brisbane has given a ridiculously low number which they've since revised, but can they stick to it? That's a key question. If they can, perhaps we public support shift in favor of more candidates coming forward. Same with Milan in 2026. Keeping costs down will go a long way. Even so, will the IOC bend. In the WOGs they've encouraged the use of existing venues such as the sliding track which new ones leave questionable legacies. Can they do the same for the SOGs with the likes of the velodrome, canoe/slalom course, and most importantly, the much maligned athletics stadium? It remains to be seen , but if the IOC thinks that their PR problems have been solved because of Agenda 2020, the New Norm, or because some politician or local businessman decides to put out a press release saying such and such a city should bid for an Olympics, they are gravely mistaken. But again, all they need is one host and if it's the likes of Putin's Russia or Xi's China that wants to step forward and put on an expensive show, the IOC will gladly oblige.

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IOC has a lot more than a PR problem, they have no grip on reality.    I'm in agreement with you on the need for a leadership change at the IOC, probably a ton of the current members need to go as well if the organization is to hope for long-term survival.    But the issues go way beyond development of a grassroots PR program.   The fundamental problem is that the Olympics are simply not in sync with the new realities of the 21st century.   Put bluntly, fewer and fewer people in the developed world even give a d@mn about the Olympics.   It's simply irrelevant to the majority of taxpayers, who correctly wish to prioritize funding of needs more critical to their quality of life vs a big sports festival that requires specialty infrastructure and ruinous security costs.   Outside of the autocrat-led countries, most of the population doesn't need the Olympics to fuel national pride or self-esteem.   

In short, I think the Olympics will slide further into irrelevancy unless the IOC can get a handle on costs, or (as you point out) they are willing to have Russia and China keep trading off every 4 years.  And IMO, the only way to get a real handle on costs, is to scale the whole thing down and particularly the Summer Games.   They have become too big, too bloated.  Get rid of entire sports and trim down some of the rest.   Cut the number of athletes down by one-third--from the 11,000+ (Tokyo 2020) to  about 7,500.     

 

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The US (Atlanta/LA) and Australia (Sydney) have historically had the cheapest Games (in real dollars/ per event) in history...I am pretty sure LA28 and especially Brisbane32 will continue this trend. That will be a good start to getting things back on track. 

Bach and Coates cant hang around forever- I agree the sooner they go the better.

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1 hour ago, TorchbearerSydney said:

The US (Atlanta/LA) and Australia (Sydney) have historically had the cheapest Games (in real dollars/ per event) in history...I am pretty sure LA28 and especially Brisbane32 will continue this trend. That will be a good start to getting things back on track. 

Bach and Coates cant hang around forever- I agree the sooner they go the better.

Unfortunately despots like Bach and Coates tend to have reliable tickers - just look at Trump or Mugabe.

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15 hours ago, stryker said:

there were warning signs in the 2018 race when only three candidates came forward, one of which would never have made the short list in Annecy 

Don't tell that to Tulsa, though! :lol:

15 hours ago, stryker said:

Rather than address the public support problem, they chose to focus on the bidding process itself and we get the result of 2032. There isn't attempt and maybe the thought process is as long as one candidate is willing and able to pay for the party with reasonably good public support then that's all they need. 

Well, there's another member here that constantly says, that all the IOC needs, is "one willing" partner per cycle. Then they're set for the time being, & worry about the next cycle, next cycle. Is that an effective enough strategy, though? Maybe, but then again, maybe not.

15 hours ago, stryker said:

If the IOC ever wants to see bids from the likes of Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Norway, Canada, they have to find a way to engage at the grassroots level. They could go a long way towards that by getting rid of two of the individuals largely responsible for this mess, John Coates and Thomas Bach, who have been as caustic to the Olympic movement as battery acid. When a business is failing, you bring in new leadership. Rather the IOC message we've changed. Nothing's changed.

Ohh, please post that in the Brisbane Games thread, where Coates is viewed as their "master" over there! :lol:

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The fish stinks from the head, but the corpse is rotten too already by then. The whole IOC membership should have to be put under scrutiny. There's dozens of Bach sycophants and handymen/profiteers of totalitarian regimes around the globe in that exclusive circle.

As long as these are in, there's no hope that a meaningful change in Lausanne will take place. It's not enough to hope that Bach will not have the rules changed in his favour Putin/Xi style and he will really go in three years as is currently foreseen.

I think you could actually manage even nowadays' Olympics with 11k or so athletes in a better way if these overblown venue and "special treatment" requirements from the IOC and the IFs were not in the way. Re-usable venues (like London had planned with one of its arenas, if I remember well, but then this did not happen either) or smaller sizes could bring costs down quite a bit, as would stripping all those fancy things that Oslo didn't like in the list of IOC demands.

 

 

 

 

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The IOC has a PR problem.  In other news, water is wet and the sky is blue.

We've known about this for awhile.  The IOC continues to be oblivious to their public perception, and while their Agenda 2020 reforms have started to point them somewhat in the right direction, they're still a very disreputable organization that the world is rightfully very skeptical of.  The costs have obviously grown out of control and only in rare circumstances is it a wise decision on the part of a city and country to offer to host.

That all said, we're in the middle of the run-up to an Olympics in China with all the baggage that brings and toss another COVID surge on top of that.  So there is hope for the future where the likes of China and Russia and Brazil are traded out for France, Italy, the United States, and Australia.  Let's review this topic 2.5 years from now and see if there is lasting fallout from 2 pandemic-tainted Olympics.  And hopefully we can get back to some sense of baseline normalcy when it comes to the Olympics.  Much easier said than done, of course

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With the current leadership of old boomers still inpower at the IOC, don't expect any of these changes happening anytime soon.

Yes, Bach has to go, but he's just going to be replaced by another boomer with lack of awareness. Everyone is part of the problem so there needs to be a major shakeup/revolution in the institution, considering less and less serious countries/cities want to participate in an event which pretty much became a vanity/dick measuring contest with dubious actual contributions in the long term other than a huge debt and white elephants. They have been under the eye of the storm for some time and COVID just exposed it much more than it already was, with even a country like Japan struggling to make it (many years ago I would had thought it would had been a piece of cake to them).

Some huge, catastrophic scandal needs to happen. On par with 2015's FIFAGate or even worse. A lot of people like praising Jacques Rogge in this board but that's just because the Olympics weren't under heavy scrutiny and still popular during his tenure. Many forget that a lot of his moves also led to the current situation, such as letting the Olympics grow out of control with more costs and unnecesary sport events almost nobody watches. Bach was his right hand man back then so he's from his same school.

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51 minutes ago, Ikarus360 said:

With the current leadership of old boomers still inpower at the IOC, don't expect any of these changes happening anytime soon.

Yes, Bach has to go, but he's just going to be replaced by another boomer with lack of awareness. Everyone is part of the problem so there needs to be a major shakeup/revolution in the institution, considering less and less serious countries/cities want to participate in an event which pretty much became a vanity/dick measuring contest with dubious actual contributions in the long term other than a huge debt and white elephants. They have been under the eye of the storm for some time and COVID just exposed it much more than it already was, with even a country like Japan struggling to make it (many years ago I would had thought it would had been a piece of cake to them).

Some huge, catastrophic scandal needs to happen. On par with 2015's FIFAGate or even worse. A lot of people like praising Jacques Rogge in this board but that's just because the Olympics weren't under heavy scrutiny and still popular during his tenure. Many forget that a lot of his moves also led to the current situation, such as letting the Olympics grow out of control with more costs and unnecesary sport events almost nobody watches. Bach was his right hand man back then so he's from his same school.

Yup... 

 

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Calgary was never the favourite for 2026. Even when public support looked strongest, most surveys still showed Milan on top.

The IOC is only the cherry on top of a heaping pile of **** that is the entire sporting infrastructure. Look at how influential various 'royals' from across the middle east are. The IOC has many members that are questionable beyond that as well. The organization has had a rather high turnover in the last 5 years and that probably needs to continue. But as long as the federations are still lacking in their own executive quality, the IOC in turn will be lacking as well. This is all not to say that the perception is not fully accurate, especially with regards to the money. I believe the IOC still has to file disclosure information to the IRS for various reasons. It is not like Bach is lining is pockets with NBC money despite the common media perceptions would have you believe.

Pound was right though, not making a bad choice is more important then making the perfect choice. For 2022 the IOC made the bad choice before the vote. And sicne only a few years later they were willing to find the money to make the right choice is all the more problematic. 

And I am not convinced Paris pulling off a Los Angeles/Sydney/London level Games will do much. Because London didn't. Maybe not being followed by the poison pill that was Sochi might help but who knows. 

I have said it before, the IOC needs to accept whatever conditions Austria/Germany/Switzerland/Norway place to get a winter games into the Western European market again soon. 

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5 hours ago, Ikarus360 said:

A lot of people like praising Jacques Rogge in this board but that's just because the Olympics weren't under heavy scrutiny and still popular during his tenure. Many forget that a lot of his moves also led to the current situation, such as letting the Olympics grow out of control with more costs and unnecesary sport events almost nobody watches. Bach was his right hand man back then so he's from his same school.

The inauguration of the redundant & wasteful “Youth Olympic Games” also doesn’t help either. But Rogge nonetheless wanted them as to have something for his “legacy”.

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On 1/22/2022 at 12:49 PM, Ikarus360 said:

I've never forgotten about this.....more people should know about it to see the kind of satrapy the IOC is.

They want to simultaneously be royal rockstars, while being perceived as humble hard working organizers of amateur sporting spectacles (with their own law enforced lanes on the freeway,) and people finally wised up. It shouldn't be lost on anyone the number of members of the IOC that hold "royal" titles including majesty or highness, and expecting people like that to transform the Olympic enterprise to a true non-profit public good would be antithetical to them. The fake nobility aspect of the modern Olympics traces back to it's founding but the crass commercialization came a lot later and in my opinion is what has turned the most people off, remember it was just 12-13 years ago that the IOC was pestering the capital region of the state of Washington over their name (Olympia.) 

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1 hour ago, GoNutz said:

They want to simultaneously be royal rockstars, while being perceived as humble hard working organizers of amateur sporting spectacles (with their own law enforced lanes on the freeway,) and people finally wised up. It shouldn't be lost on anyone the number of members of the IOC that hold "royal" titles including majesty or highness, and expecting people like that to transform the Olympic enterprise to a true non-profit public good would be antithetical to them. The fake nobility aspect of the modern Olympics traces back to it's founding but the crass commercialization came a lot later and in my opinion is what has turned the most people off, remember it was just 12-13 years ago that the IOC was pestering the capital region of the state of Washington over their name (Olympia.) 

The fundamental hypocrisy of the IOC is that they claim to be about uniting the world.  And they'll claim credit when North Korea and South Korea march together in the opening ceremony.  But they'll distance themselves when it doesn't work in their favor (i.e. China) and they'll say it's not their job to police the world.

Yes, 100% they want to believe they're a bunch of autocrats that should have someone to wipe their asses for them for bestowing the Olympics upon a city.  Hopefully once we're past Beijing and there are no questionable host countries on the horizon, that image will improve.  But at some point, they'll likely need to face a future again where their options are limited and they need to demand less or else they don't get an Olympic host

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On 1/23/2022 at 6:11 AM, FYI said:

The inauguration of the redundant & wasteful “Youth Olympic Games” also doesn’t help either. But Rogge nonetheless wanted them as to have something for his “legacy”.

The YOGs just seem so wasteful and bizarre given the Olympics is for "the youth of the world".

But true - they all want their mark. JAS had moving the WOGs from the Olympiad to its own year, Rogge had the YOGs and now Fencing 1976 and Brisbane 1992 have Agenda 2020 and tiny flames.

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18 minutes ago, Australian Kiwi said:

The YOGs just seem so wasteful and bizarre given the Olympics is for "the youth of the world".

Yeah. And considering the fact 13 year olds were winning gold at Tokyo, surely the separate YOGs are redundant.

19 minutes ago, Australian Kiwi said:

But true - they all want their mark. JAS had moving the WOGs from the Olympiad to its own year, Rogge had the YOGs and now Fencing 1976 and Brisbane 1992 have Agenda 2020 and tiny flames.

I thought Fencing 1976’s mark was “No Losers”

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Sir Rols, your post in the other thread, for one thing, reminds me of how forums tend to have way too many sub-sections and sub-categories. If the topic of "Olympics" and this forum were drawing in thousands of people per day and getting hundreds of new posts per hour, than I could see why the general topic of "Olympics" should be chopped up. But personally I wish more threads were consolidated so one post could riff off another post. Or one post could be like a chain-mail to another post.

To me, what can be said about the "IOC," also relates to what can be said about "2024," "2022," "2028" or "1996" or "1988," etc. Visa versa too. 

In turn, this other aspect of today's culture (politics, economics, etc, too) makes me think of the way that parts of it may be washing over towards the "Olympics," the "IOC," "2024," "2028," etc. too.

https://tedgioia.substack.com/p/is-old-music-killing-new-music

 

Quote

 

Can you imagine how angry fans would be if the Super Bowl or NBA Finals were delayed? People would riot in the streets. If they cancelled Carnival in Rio or even just Bloomsday in Dublin, I’d hear an outcry on social media. But the Grammy Awards go missing in action, and hardly anyone notices.

The declining TV audience for the Grammy show underscores this shift. In 2021, viewership for the Grammy Awards collapsed 53% from the previous year—from 18.7 million to 8.8 million. It was the least-watched Grammy broadcast of all time. Even the core audience for new music couldn’t be bothered—around 98% of people between the ages of 18 and 49 had something better to do than watch the biggest music celebration of the year.

A decade ago, 40 million people watched the Grammy Awards. That’s a meaningful audience, but now the devoted fans of this event are starting to resemble a tiny subculture. More people pay attention to streams of video games on Twitch (which now boasts 30 million daily visitors) or the latest reality TV show. In fact, musicians would probably do better getting placement in Fortnite than signing a record deal in 2022. At least they would have access to a growing demographic. 

 

 

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23 minutes ago, Olympics2028 said:

Sir Rols, your post in the other thread, for one thing, reminds me of how forums tend to have way too many sub-sections and sub-categories. If the topic of "Olympics" and this forum were drawing in thousands of people per day and getting hundreds of new posts per hour, than I could see why the general topic of "Olympics" should be chopped up. But personally I wish more threads were consolidated so one post could riff off another post. Or one post could be like a chain-mail to another post.

That may work on general forums, but you have to remember this is a forum totally dedicated to the Olympics, with members who have interest in all the minutiae of the topic - the politics,m the ceremonies, the looks, the music, the mascots and the individual games themselves. Our members really drill down into particular aspects and that necessitates trying to keep topics in their discrete areas. That’s not to say there’s no leniency for topic drift. But it means a long series of posts critiquing British performers in 2012  is pretty irrelevant in an LA thread and bound to annoy people.

You seem to have a very stream-of-consciouness style of posting, which makes it difficult where to point you to. For example, in your last post in the Paris cauldron thread where you started musing about the declining prestige of the games, I pointed you here. But now you’re here, you’re discussing trends in music, which is way outside the thrust of this thread.

i dunno what to advise. Perhaps look around the various nooks and crannies of this board, comment on the topics at hand in those threads, let those conversations flow and start to get a feel for what works best here. You’ve got some interesting viewpoints, but you seem to post willy nilly in inappropriate threads.

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6 minutes ago, Sir Rols said:

For example, in your last post in the Paris cauldron thread where you started musing about the declining prestige of the games, I pointed you here. But now you’re here, you’re discussing trends in music, which is way outside the thrust of this thread.

 

 

Not sure why you don't see how one aspect of some issue or topic doesn't relate in various ways to other aspects of what seems like a totally different subject.

The Olympics are, yea, an athletic event. But they're also closely connected to the areas of culture, economics, politics. That can be stretched to the way that music influences the Olympics, and Olympic games can influence music.

The declining popularity of newer singers and music compositions isn't totally disconnected from factors that are causing the 2022 Olympics to reportedly be generating lower TV ratings than in past years. I imagine the IOC isn't too thrilled with that.

In turn, I imagine a Sony Records or Capitol Music isn't exactly thrilled with ongoing trends in tunes and singers.

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