Bradley Wiggins rounding the Arc de Triomphe in the yellow jersey, Mark Cueto’s disallowed Rugby World Cup final try against South Africa and the Ronaldo “will he start?” debate ahead of the 1998 football World Cup final; it is fair to say Paris has hosted its share of incredible sporting moments.
So it is no surprise that, less than 300 days out from the Paris 2024 Summer Olympic Games, the French capital stands ready to host what could be the revival of the multi-sport mega event.
London 2012 was special, and demonstrated the ability of a city to show itself off on the world stage. Rio de Janeiro four years later somewhat fell flat and Tokyo’s ability to host was severely impeded by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Paris je ne sais quoi
So next year Paris can bring the je ne sais quoi the Olympics so desperately needs.
And the well connected capital, famed for its history, culture and architecture, is exploiting the very best it has to offer.
Equestrian events at Versailles, volleyball in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower and an opening ceremony on the Seine; what a spectacle it promises to be.
Across this Rugby World Cup, one of the major testing events for the games, Paris has shone. The Stade de France will this week host Ireland, like it did a fortnight ago when they faced the Springboks.
As The Cranberries’ song Zombie rang around the arena a few weeks back, 60,000 fans sang the chorus of the Irish classic, which reverberated far beyond the stadium bowl.
Paris, on one of its busy days of this year, dazzled; the perfect setting for the perfect match.
Next year when close to 200 countries descend on France it’ll be an even bigger operation, one of ticketing, travel and hospitality.
How organisers try to replicate the atmosphere experienced in Paris for the World Cup across 15 days of multi-sport action ranging from the very heart of Paris, to Marseille (sailing) and on to Tahiti (surfing) remains to be seen, but the Olympic Games themselves are set to be the site of one of the world’s biggest hospitality offerings in sporting history.
On Location has been selected to provide this service for these Games, as well as the next two in 2026 (Milan) and 2028 (LA), and Paris seems to be the perfect location to begin their venture.
Offerings will range from £80 and skyrocket into five figures depending on the package, but there’s a desire to show off Paris in a way no other Olympic venue has been able to previously.
Dinner up the Eiffel Tower, lunch in the Palais de Tokyo and access to tickets just metres away from the 100m finishing line. It’s a bold, punchy and admirable level of ambition.
The French capital will, for two weeks, be at the centre of the globe. And boy is it bound to shine when it is at the very heart of the sporting world.