Hosting the Olympic Games is an expensive and far-reaching commitment. Host cities must go through a multi-step approval process before the International Olympic Committee (IOC) chooses them as the site of the Games. Host cities stand to benefit from the Olympics by boosting tourism, improvement projects, and job creation.
First, the cities themselves must assemble a bid for the IOC. If this bid is accepted, cities become “Applicant Cities.” The cities must make sure that they have enough infrastructure for the Games to be successful: hotels, mass transit, and security are three of the criteria. The cities also need to be sure that the people living there are in support of the Olympics happening in their area.
Boston gave up its bid for the 2024 Summer Games in part due to public opposition. City officials worried that the area would not be able to handle the influx of visitors. They were also wary of the amount of new construction that would be needed to host the Games. Community activists warned that disadvantaged people could be forced from affordable housing to make room for new facilities.
The IOC chooses cities as “Candidate Cities” for the second part of the process. During this process, the IOC studies each city for up to 10 months. The cities must be able to build the Olympic Village for athletes to stay in as well as all the athletic venues. They must also make sure that they can secure funding for these projects, whether through sponsorships or tax increases. This is one of the main reasons cities are not chosen for the Olympic Games.
Cities with existing infrastructure to hold the Games have an advantage. For example, Los Angeles’ bid for the 2024 Summer Games is strengthened by the existence of many quality sporting arenas and stadiums. Cities must also have enough hotel capacity to handle all the politicians, journalists, and tourists who come to the Games. The hotels need to be up to par. Sochi, host of the 2014 Winter Olympics, received some criticism because its hotels and facilities were not as good as guests had expected.
When the second phase is over, the IOC makes the choice of the next host city. Tokyo will host the Summer Olympics in 2020 and Beijing will host the Winter Olympics in 2022. These cities offered the best bids and are ready to show the world their Olympic spirit.