The announcement had been watched for several months, as the risk of financial slippage hovered over the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games (JOP). The Paris 2024 Organizing Committee (Cojop) unveiled, on Tuesday November 22, at coming from an executive bureau, the outline of its budget review.
Cojop presented to the main stakeholders of the Games – French National Olympic and Sports Committee (CNOSF), French Paralympic and Sports Committee (CPSF), State, city of Paris, Seine-Saint-Denis department, Ile-de-France region and metropolis of Greater Paris – an increased budget of approximately 400 million euros.
“In a context of high inflation, the Paris 2024 budget will be controlled with a contained increase of around 10%”, declared Tony Estanguet, the president of Paris 2024 to the members of the executive office. The objective for the Cojop is now to present at its board meeting on December 12, “a balanced budget”. Two years ago, the Cojop had already had to find something 300 million euros in savings due to the Covid health crisis.
The cost of the opening ceremony
The current envelope allocated to the organization of the 2024 JOPs amounts, before revision, to nearly 4 billion euros, 97% of which comes from private funds – the infrastructure construction part is managed by Solidéo, which has a budget of 3.7 billion euros, including 1.6 billion in public funding.
The inflation caused by the war in Ukraine is, on its own, responsible for a large half of the budget extension that is looming, specifies the Cojop. It is reflected in the energy bills or even in the calls for tenders which have yet to be concluded.
The other half of the increase in the budget is partly due to the cost of the opening ceremony of the Games which will take place on the Seine: this will necessarily be higher, especially in terms of securitythan in the case of a ceremony in a stadium.
Expenditure items had also been undervalued, such as cybersecurity, to which now “have been provided with sufficient means”, details Etienne Thobois, the general manager of Paris 2024.
Finally, costs had been “poorly anticipated”recognize the latter, citing as an example the non-integration of the amount of redeployment leave – 30 to 40 million euros – for Cojop employees at the dissolution of Paris 2024, after the Games.
Ahead of sponsorship revenue
Faced with these growing bills, the Paris 2024 teams say they can rely on additional revenue. The roadmap of the sponsors – which represent around a third of the general budget of the Cojop, such as ticketing revenue and the contribution of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) – would be more advanced than expected.
The Cojop had set itself the objective of achieving, by the end of 2022, 80% of the 1.12 billion in revenue sought. ” We are already thereassures Mickaël Aloïsio, chief of staff of the president of Paris 2024, Tony Estanguet. We even hope to exceed 90% with future announcements. »
The French group LVMH, world leader in luxury, is still expected to join the ranks of the Games’ premium sponsors, those capable of paying an entry ticket of more than 100 million euros.
On the ticketing side, the organizers of the Games are also confident. The calendar of competitions is known, the map of sites decided – the preliminary basketball tournament in Lille has yet to be formalized -, like the fee schedule.
The Paris 2024 teams therefore know precisely the total volume of tickets on sale. They are currently working with the IOC on the net gauges of competition venues. Understand: reduce the number of seats allocated to the Olympic family (IOC, National Olympic Committees, international federations, etc.) or even the number of seats sacrificed for the needs of audiovisual broadcasting.
Because the organizers of the Paris Games have, for several months, taken it into their heads to “hunt for gaspi”. A work ” together ” with the IOC, argues Etienne Thobois. The goal ? Sift through the specifications of the IOC, in other words revise downwards the level of requirements of the boss of world sport.
An example: the electrical connection of competition sites to the Enedis network, rather than mobilizing generators – polluting – would save “tens of millions of euros”calculated the director general of Paris 2024. He also cites the reduction in the pooling of means of transport (“40% less vehicles compared to London 2012”)even the number of torches used during the torch relay to illustrate the fact that no expense would be overlooked.
Use of part of the contingency reserve
Ticketing or partnerships, Paris 2024 therefore claims to be able “to rely on additional income”, without specifying the exact amount. This will in any case be insufficient to cover the additional 400 million euros of the budget. The organizer of the Games has warned that it will consume part of its contingency reserve of 315 million euros, while preserving “a majority of this sum for the last year before the Games”.
The Minister of Sports and the Olympic and Paralympic Games, Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, had already hinted at this possibility on October 12 before senators. Because since the publication in July of the report of the audit committee of Paris 2024, which had pointed out in particular that the expenses planned for the organization of the Games exceeded the expected income, the warnings at the top of the State have not ceased. “There will be no OJ tax”had warned Emmanuel Macron, on July 25, during an Olympic and Paralympic council at the Elysée. “No slippage will be tolerated, both at the level of Cojop and Solideo”had argued, before the deputies at the end of September, Michel Cadot, the interministerial delegate to the Games.
On Tuesday, the director of cabinet of the Minister of Sports, Antoine Gobelet, held at “welcome the work of this line-by-line review made by the Cojop”also recalling “the absolute objective of preserving the ambition of these Games”.
The main lines of the budget revision are now known, remains to be specified, by December 12, the more precise amount of revenue and savings envisaged. “We will only spend what we are able to generate in terms of income”, recalled Tuesday Etienne Thobois. A final review at the end of 2023, around six months before the opening ceremony of the JOP, could decide the final budgetary decisions.