The report’s influence on the race is uncertain. Not all IOC members read the evaluation reports carefully — if at all — and host-city votes are often driven by personal and geopolitical reasons more than technical issues.
The presentations to IOC members on July 3-4 are likely to be more crucial. It was at a similar briefing in 2009 where Rio de Janeiro, which did not rank highly in the technical report, seized the momentum in the race for the 2016 Olympics.
Tuesday’s report said Tokyo’s bid seeks to lift the nation’s spirits following the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in 2011. It said Tokyo had “well thought-out proposals” for ensuring “safe and secure games” and cited its $4.5 billion reserve fund — money in the bank — for financing Olympic construction.
The report did cite some concerns for Tokyo, including proposals to use three existing venues from the 1964 Games for judo, table tennis and boxing. It said the plan would “present operational challenges due to the limited space around the venues.”
The IOC also raised concern over high hotel prices in Tokyo.
“We are proud that the report confirms our bid’s very strong technical excellence, which offers certainty in uncertain times for sport,” Tokyo bid leader and Japanese IOC member Tsunekazu Takeda said. “We are also aware that we must deliver much more than just a strong report.”
Istanbul, which straddles Europe and Asia, is seeking to take the Olympics to a predominantly Muslim country for the first time. Istanbul would require the most spending and infrastructure work of the three cities, with a capital budget of $16.8 billion. The IOC report cited potential challenges with construction, traffic and other issues.
“Due to the estimated traffic growth the commission believes that the risk of road congestion during the games remains high, particularly in the coastal and Bosphorous zones,” it said.