The organisation of the Olympic Games / by Kristine Toohey

Toohey, Kristine

Edited by The Olympic Studies Centre - 2024

Due to their increasing size, cost, complexity and global profile, organising an Olympics involves significant investment beyond sporting facilities. These costs can exceed those of building venues. While the sport competition is at the core of the Games, other functions, such as ticketing, transport, facilities, infrastructure, finance, and security must also be organised by the Games’ hosts and, if not done so efficiently, can impact the public’s perception of the Games’ success. This article provides an account of developments in the organisation of the Olympic Games, particularly governance aspects and stakeholder relationships between the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the host city and country, Olympic Games Organising Committee (OCOG) and other stakeholders. While the IOC contractually owns the Olympic Games, it predominantly outsources their organisation, via the Olympic Host Contract, to the OCOG, relevant national government, host city government, National Olympic Committee (NOC), and other applicable organisations. Essentially there are four phases in organising a Games: (i) the bid phase; (ii) the planning/organisation phase; (iii) the operational/ implementation phase; and (iv) the post-Games phase. An OCOG has many different functional units, a limited lifespan, and expands rapidly from a small organisation to thousands of employees before Games time when its structure shifts from a functional, to matrix, then a venue-based structure. Although the structure of each OCOG varies according to the politics and culture of the host city and nation, some of its governance aspects remain the same, as do its phases.

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