PITCHES AND TROUGHS. 100 BEST STORIES.
The battle to host the 2012 Olympics was the pitch of the decade. The general sense of euphoria then felt at London’s win is now somewhat muted as the pitched cost of £2 billion plus is now around £9 million and rising! Nevertheless, it was a brilliant pitch and one that has been written up by many, including an excellent chapter in Jon Steel’s book Perfect Pitch.
From a long list of nine, five candidate cities, New York, Moscow, Madrid , Paris and London, invested many millions developing their technical submissions (the exaggerated equivalent of the pitch document). All five were approved by the scrutineers. Paris was assumed to be ahead at this stage but in reality any one of the five could have won in the live pitch in Singapore. This is where the right to be a “Best 100″ story starts.
How did London win the hearts of the 110 members of the IOC, voting anonomously, average age late sixties?
Shortly after the announcement, I asked Alan Pascoe, a deputy chairman of the Bid team, what was the single factor that, in his opinion, lead to success? His immediate reply ,” we kept on and on asking ourselves the question, from the individual IOC members viewpoint,-What’s in it for me?”
The answer was not about the delivery of a successful Games. It was all about the benefit of the Olympics in terms of its legacy, particularly among the young. It was this insight that determined the winning strategy in a pitch which demonstated that London , and the people running the bid, understood the IOC best.
Many elements during the pitch reinforced this insight. However, the most astonishing dramatisation of the strategy came in the video. The four other cities, using world famous directors, showcased their cities and stadia in all their glory. As you would expect.
The London film did not show the city at all. What it did show was heart rending footage of young children, in different parts of the world, nervously competing and ‘dreaming’ of taking part in the Olympics in London . The final words over ” To make an athlete takes millions of children around the world inspired to choose sport”.
A few months ago at a dinner I asked Seb Coe to sum up the success. His response ” it was all down to the emotional connection”