Ruckus in Rio as Olympic Games Draw Near

Reputation issues could plague the city long after the Games are gone

The opening ceremonies for the Rio Olympic Games are less than a week away, and yet the very same issues we discussed in December 2015 (and then some!) continue to plague the event. Teams olympic ringsfrom several countries arriving at their accommodations only to find doors that won’t lock and plumbing that flows down walls as readily as it does down the intended pipes. Security issues, including three competitors being robbed at gunpoint thus far. And the water, oh man the water. Organizers’ denial about the water quality many months ago has played out as expected, and it’s now being revealed that Rio’s waterways are even more polluted than was thought previously. A 2009 promise to spend $4 billion to clean up untreated sewage flowing into local waterways fell so short it’s almost comical, with just $170 million being spent to no effect.

Oh, and did we mention that the acting governor of Rio officially declared a state of emergency last month? He stated that a serious lack of money could result in “a total collapse in public security, health, education, transport and environmental management.”

While the machine that is the Olympic Games is likely to go forward as it has through many crises, the reputation of Rio as a tourist destination may take a hit it cannot recover from. The Games serve as a massive PR asset to those who host them, perhaps the reason why there are always bidders despite hosting being far from profitable in any direct fashion. All of that goes down the drain when the host city is overwhelmed with negative coverage, meaning Rio is likely to net a big negative when the dust settles from the events.

The BCM Blogging Team
www.bernsteincrisismanagement.com

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