Paris secures sponsors; presents logo for 2024 Olympic bid
ABS-CBN Sports on Feb 10, 2016 09:29 AM
The Eiffel Tower-shaped bid logo for the Paris 2024 is unveiled on The Arc of Triomphe on the Champs Elysees in Paris, France, Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. Leaders of the Paris bid for the 2024 Olympics boosted their public campaign on Tuesday as they secured about 8 million euros ($8.9 million) in sponsorship deals with four major French groups. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
SAMUEL PETREQUIN, AP Sports Writer
PARIS (AP) — Paris ramped up its bid for the 2024 Olympics on Tuesday, securing about 8 million euros ($8.9 million) in four sponsorship deals and presenting its Eiffel Tower-shaped logo in a ceremony on the Champs Elysees.
The bid committee said each of the four new sponsors — Caisse des Depots, Elior Group, JCDecaux and RATP — will contribute about 2 million euros ($2.2 million) to the budget.
The announcement followed the signing last month of the bid's first sponsorship deal with France's national lottery, Francaise des Jeux, which has also promised 2 million euros in funding for the bid.
"We now look forward to working with our partners to spread the special message of Olympism across our city and nation so the public can really take part and engage with our campaign to become the Olympic host city in 2024," Paris bid chief executive Etienne Thobois said.
Paris, which hosted the Olympics in 1900 and 1924, is competing against Budapest, Rome and Los Angeles for the games. The International Olympic Committee will choose the host city in September 2017.
Featuring colored stripes forming the number 24, the Tour Eiffel bid logo was projected onto the Arc de Triomphe in a ceremony held symbolically at 8:24 p.m. local time, or 2024. The emblem was shown at the same time on the facade of the town hall in Marseille, the Mediterranean port city which would host the sailing competition and football matches if Paris gets the games.
Paris leaders said the logo represents the capital's "dynamism, radiance and openness."
"The logo is a modern interpretation of Paris' most iconic symbol, the Eiffel Tower, that reflects the city's rich and beautiful history whilst also conveying the positive sense of optimism, drive and ambition of this vibrant metropolis," they said in a statement.
Broadcast live on French TV, the ceremony was attended by the country's top sports officials, athletes as well as France's IOC members Guy Drut and Tony Estanguet. But only a few Parisians braved a cold winter evening to gather at the foot of the Arc de Triomphe.
"This colorful logo is the proof that France is still standing and can have big projects," said Estanguet, the co-chairman of the bid committee, referring to the attacks that left 130 people dead in Paris in November.
The cost of the bid campaign has been estimated at 60 million euros ($65 million), with half of the budget to be raised through private funding. If Paris is awarded the Olympics, the infrastructure budget for hosting the games is expected to reach 3 billion euros ($4.5 billion), with operational costs of 3.2 billion euros ($4.8 billion).
Bid co-president Bernard Lapasset told RTL radio that the public half of the funding has already been received through subsidies from the state, the Paris region and the city itself. In tough economic times, he also promised there will be no tax increases to finance the project.
Lapasset said bid officials are currently negotiating four more important sponsorship deals with companies he did not name. A total of about 15 big corporations are expected to sponsor the bid.
Despite the failure of a crowd funding campaign that so far raised 630,820 euros ($680,000) instead of the 10 million euros ($11 million) expected by the French Olympic committee, Lapasset said he remains confident the Paris bid is on the right track.
"It's going to start all over again," he said, insisting that a lack of communication hindered the funding plan. "We are about to submit our first dossier to the IOC. We are ready to present our vision and the content of our bid to the IOC, and I'm convinced things will change."