(ATR) Paris 2024 is nearly halfway towards achieving its domestic sponsorship target following a new partnership with telecommunications giant Orange, according to chief executive officer Etienne Thobois.
"Definitely a big, big step for the entire organizing committee because the telecom sponsor is not just an affair of money coming in, it’s also a fantastic operator to deliver the Games," Thobois told media during a videoconference on Friday.
Orange becomes a Premium partner and official supplier to the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games, with about four years to go. The agreement was announced on Thursday by Orange’s chairman and CEO Stéphane Richard and Paris 2024 president Tony Estanguet, with Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo present.
"All together we are now around half of the target reached with a bit more than 500 million secured," Thobois said. "It is a great step moving forward and we will come back to you by the end of the year with other good news."
Thobois noted that the domestic sponsorship revenue goal stands at €1.1 billion ($1.29 billion). "We thought it was a very reasonable target and now we feel it is achievable," he said.
"Obviously, the overall situation is difficult for companies and we need to make sure we understand that, but on the other hand we still have contact with all of the others from before the pandemic and we can sense a positive feeling," he said.
Thobois said that the Paris 2024 operating budget remains at €3.8 billion ($4.45 billion), the same figure that was initially put forth in its bid book.
Paris 2024 Executive Board members also approved cost cutting measures including scrapping plans for construction of two large temporary venues – one for aquatics and the second for volleyball. Additionally, rugby sevens will be relocated to the Stade de France to also trim costs.
Paris organizers still plan to build a permanent aquatics center in Seine-Saint-Denis, one of three entirely new venues for the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Thobois said the respective IFs are generally supportive of the adaptations.
"There is a general will to contribute to the overall best possible scenarios," the French sports leader said. "I think the IFs are definitely open to changes, they are also open to making sure that their interests are taken into consideration and we are trying to best conciliate all of that."
The revised venue plan will need to be approved by the IOC Executive Board at its meeting in December.
"It’s more of a cost controlling exercise than a savings exercise," Thobois said.
Thobois notes that fewer venues will not only reduce Paris 2024’s operational costs, but also its carbon footprint.
Written and reported by Brian Pinelli
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