For the first time in the history of the Olympic Games, the host country will a South American nation: Brazil. The announcement was made today amidst considerable fanfare around the globe, as Rio de Janeiro beat out Tokyo, Chicago and Madrid to win the title of 2016 Summer Olympic Games host.
The Games are still seven years off, but today’s announcement made me think about how massive an undertaking this level of event planning must be (a digression from the usual crisis-focused posts)—otherwise, why would the selection be made so far ahead of time?. Between refurbishing—and even building from scratch—venues to handling necessary infrastructure-related challenges, the list of minutia becomes a force to be reckoned with in a matter of seconds. Plus, the city has to be able to physically accommodate the hundreds of thousands of visitors between the viewers, athletes, media and sponsors that pour in from around the world.
Then there’s the issue of branding—an activity that must take place on a city, country and, in this case, continent-wide level. Based on the 2008 Beijing Games, I got a little bit of perspective from the folks at Lenovo and Ketchum, who partnered to launch a branding campaign around Lenovo’s sponsorship of the Games, in conjunction with its recent purchase of IBM’s PC division.
That effort alone, which was relegated to a single company, seemed staggering. I’ll be interested to watch the progression for the 2016 Games, and I’d love to hear stories from any readers who might have experience with planning an Olympic-sized event.
By Courtney Barnes