How an Olympic Host City Is Determined

ByABC News
July 10, 2001, 12:22 PM

N E W   Y O R K, July 11 -- When the International Olympic Committee decides the site of the 2008 Summer Games on Friday, there will be much more at stake than the backdrop for an international sports tournament.

The city that wins will be guaranteed a boom in revenue at least $1.2 billion from the sale of television rights and sponsorships alone, according to the IOC.

Plus, the chosen city will also benefit from the IOC's long-running sponsorship contracts with blue-chip companies like Coca-Cola, Kodak and McDonald's deals that will guarantee around $300 million in revenue.

The decision also gives the chosen city a degree of global recognition, and may even represent a nod of acceptance from the rest of the world.

But even as tourists rush to their travel agents with their credit cards at the ready, few people understand how and why a certain city comes to be chosen.

It's a decision that involves dozens of members of an elite club, and considers everything from the candidate city's financial situation, to its traditions of "Olympism and Culture."

China's Singular Situation

The IOC says it evaluates 18 themes, which vary from the logistical, like transportation and security, to the subjective plans for an Olympic village, for example.

Dan Doctoroff, the president of NYC2012, an organization working to bring the summer games to New York in 2012, says cities that have made it to the final vote typically have fulfilled the basic criteria to the satisfaction of the IOC.

They're largely eligible to host the Games, he says. It's a second dimension, whether or not they're right to host them, which makes them the choice of the IOC. And "there's no guidebook for that second dimension," he said.

"The IOC typically selects a city that it thinks will advance the various interests and ideals of the Olympic culture," he said. "It's the one opportunity the IOC has where the entire world watches and is present at the Games."

With Beijing considered the front-runner among candidates Toronto, Paris, Osaka in Japan and Istanbul, Turkey, one of those ideals likely to be in the spotlight is human rights. China has long been criticized for its practices, which were said to be one of the reasons it lost the 2000 Summer Games to Sydney.