The idea: To stage the Olympics in Athens, Greece on a permanent basis.
Why it makes sense: There’s no bigger boondoggle in the world of sports than the Olympics. Every four years, a host city spends $billions on stadiums and venues that will be in use for a period of two weeks before falling into states of disrepair. Cities are starting to catch on the economic reality of staging the Greatest Show on Earth: Hamburg and Rome have already withdrawn from contention for 2024, and the financial disaster that was Rio2016 has made it unlikely that the games will again be staged in a country with a developing economy.
If the Games were to be permanently staged in Athens – the home of the Olympic Movement – the stadia and venues would be funded by the international community and used every four years (at least). The Games would be transformed from a financially reckless pursuit to an economically sound event underpinned by world-class venues and infrastructure. Moreover, if we knew that the Olympic Stadium would be in use for the next 30 or 40 years, why not build the biggest stadium on earth, and make the Olympic Village a global sporting centre used by athletes and sports teams all year round?
The two most prestigious sporting competitions in the world – The Masters and Wimbledon – are staged at the same venues every year, engendering a level of institutional memory and human expertise that make them consistently excellent events. The IoC could learn a great deal from how the organisers at Augusta and the All England Club manage to stage profitable and flawless world-class competitions that carry no controversy with them.
And finally, Greece has the climate and timezone to be the ideal permanent host. By being on Eastern European Time, Athens could stage an event that would be very-watchable in both Asia and the Americas.
Could it happen? Although the idea has the backing of the head of the IMF (as well as most sane observers), the IoC seems wedded the rotation model of Olympic staging. If we’re being cynical (and it’s difficult not to be when talking about international sports governing bodies), the IoC is unlikely to want to surrender the outrageous level of authority it enjoys over host cities – no matter how severe the economic burden is on such cities.
The only way this happens is if the list of willing host-cities dries up to nothing. That may happen in time, but not until Paris and Los Angeles have had their turn.
Likelihood of happening: 10% (Break glass in case of emergency).