Olympic Agenda 2020 and its New Norm saves Tokyo 2020 USD 4.3 billion
Conscious of the need to protect the uniqueness of the Olympic Games in a continuously evolving environment, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) introduced Olympic Agenda 2020 in 2014, and its New Norm in February this year. Since then, the IOC and the Games Organising Committees and their stakeholders have wasted no time in working together to identify how the 118 measures of the New Norm can help to reduce costs and increase flexibility for the long-term benefit of each host city.
Nowhere was this more evident during this week’s Executive Board meeting than with the Games in Tokyo in 2020, where, thanks to Olympic Agenda 2020 and its New Norm, savings have been made of USD 4.3 billion. This is made up of the USD 2.2 billion already saved during the review of the Venue Master Plan and an additional USD 2.1 billion of savings mainly from the operational budget through the New Norm.
Of the 118 measures contained in the New Norm, Tokyo has already fully implemented 49, while another 41 are being fully or partially applied. Some of those measures include shortening venue rental periods and optimising test event and overlay plans.
The IOC’s Tokyo 2020 Coordination Commission Chair John Coates, who also leads the New Norm working group for the IOC, said, “We can be pleased with these interim results, in particular, the USD 4.3 billion savings from Tokyo 2020. However, we are only part of the way there with Tokyo 2020. Our Japanese friends have embraced the New Norm, but we still have work left to do, and we will continue our cost reduction efforts with them until the Closing Ceremony of those Games.”
However, the New Norm’s impact extends far beyond Tokyo, with its influence felt around the Olympic world. The New Norm was already partially applied in PyeongChang, where its implementation allowed the application of measures such as reducing the number of accredited seats, eliminating the secondary “mountain” International Broadcast Centre and using an existing building for the Main Press Centre. These measures all contributed to the PyeongChang 2018 Organising Committee’s positive financial result.
In Beijing, 37 measures have already been applied, with a further 62 to be implemented either fully or partially. The Executive Board was also updated about Beijing 2022’s progress in delivering a strong legacy from the Games, with eight million people in Beijing already getting involved in winter sport thanks to programmes being organised in conjunction with the city, which is a good step on China’s way to achieving its goal of 300 million people getting involved in winter sport. There was also strong progress reported on the marketing front, with eight partners currently on board.
Paris 2024 will see the New Norm fully implemented, and this is already clear with the co-construction approach being adopted between the IOC, the International Paralympic Committee and Paris 2024. An important decision made by the Executive Board that was very much influenced by Olympic Agenda 2020 was the approval of Paris’ optimised Olympic Games venue concept. This optimised concept is built very much on the flexibility allowed by Olympic Agenda 2020 and the New Norm, as well as on close collaboration amongst the different key partners in the process, such as the International Federations. The new concept will help to deliver the best possible Games experience for the athletes, spectators and television viewers; it will strengthen the legacy of the Games; and it will allow Paris to solidify its budget.
Paris was also congratulated on the signing of its first partner.
Finally, for the 2026 Interested Cities, the IOC is guiding them through the New Norm measures, which has resulted in their proposing approximately 80 per cent of existing venues, compared to 60 per cent on average for the candidate cities in 2018 and 2022. This is also clear when looking at the budgets for the 2026 Interested Cities, which have already seen an average reduction of 15 per cent compared to the past Olympic Winter Games candidature processes.
The full impact of Olympic Agenda 2020’s New Norm will only really be visible after the Paris Games are over, but the initial signs seen during this Executive Board meeting are very encouraging, whereby through a unified approach, Olympic Agenda 2020 and its New Norm are helping the Olympic Games to become a more cost-effective investment and retain their uniqueness.