Uniting History and Heritage: 2024 Paris Olympics Venues Embrace Emotional Connections

 | Khoa Le

As the anticipation builds for the upcoming Summer Olympics in Paris, there’s a palpable buzz surrounding not only the athletic feats that will unfold but also the unique approach the organizers are taking to connect emotionally with visitors. The Paris Olympics 2024 committee has decided to weave the fabric of history and heritage into the very essence of the games by embedding temporary open-air Olympic event venues into the city’s iconic landmarks. This innovative strategy isn’t just about logistics; it’s about forging deep emotional connections with both athletes and spectators alike.

Paris, often heralded as the City of Light, boasts a rich tapestry of history, with each cobblestone street and towering monument whispering tales of centuries past. Recognizing the profound significance of these landmarks, the organizers have seamlessly integrated them into the Olympic experience. Picture this: the rhythmic sounds of athletes’ footsteps echoing against the grand walls of the Chateau de Versailles, or the breathtaking sight of beach volleyball players crashing into the sand beneath the Eiffel Tower. These aren’t just sporting events; they’re moments steeped in history, offering a poignant reminder of the timeless spirit of human achievement. 

By intertwining the Olympics with Parisian heritage, the organizers have tapped into a powerful way to facilitate a greater Return on EmotionTM that transcends the realm of sports. Visitors aren’t merely spectators; they’re participants in a living, breathing story that unfolds against the backdrop of iconic landmarks. This fusion of past and present serves as a powerful reminder of the enduring values of unity, resilience, and cultural richness, and demonstrates the importance on making a lasting emotional connection with audiences.

When our leaders, Alisa and Jeff Haynes traveled to Qatar to attend the 2022 World Cup, they experienced an environment that was very unexpected. While the overall branding, and the remarkable stadiums featuring compelling signage and huge LED screens were all over the top and very well-executed, the World Cup was missing something critical. Having attended the previous 3 World Cups, Alisa was familiar with the energy, as well as the sense of community and human spirit that is typically evoked. It was an experience unlike any other. But something was different at this World Cup. Days before the first match, FIFA had confirmed that no alcohol would be sold at the eight stadiums hosting the tournament, leaving many confused and disappointed. Although alcohol is a key component of World Cup celebrations and revelry, the omission of it should not have been an obstacle to the fan experience that couldn’t be overcome. 

While the organizers of the 2022 World Cup focused on beautiful signage, incredible stadiums and overall safety, all of which were appreciated, they forgot about one major thing: “The Attendee Journey.” They focused inward on themselves and not outwards towards the attendees and the fan community. The experiences outside the stadium, which are often even more fun than what happens inside the actual venues, as well as the fan experience zone, were lackluster to say the least. 

The result was catastrophic as similar feedback began to spread and scenes of stadiums with thousands of empty seats were aired to audiences watching worldwide as conspiracy theories around the use of seat fillers hired to display more fan engagement began to surface. It left Alisa and Jeff, along with many of the attendees, departing with a feeling that something critical was missing, and that it was a huge, missed opportunity for the country of Qatar.  

As leaders of an experience agency, Alisa and Jeff asked, “Can you imagine if they had hired our agency, gave us $100M of the billions spent, and said to focus only on the attendee journey? It would have been amazing and a World Cup to never forget. And a Qatar to never forget, alcohol or not.” 

Alisa and Jeff at the 2022 World Cup

“This all could have been easily avoided if the organizers had shown the foresight to think about other ways to drive a higher Return on EmotionTM. What type of alternative activities and experiences could they have brought to the table? Where was the focus on the attendee journey?” Jeff observed.

“Having attended The World Cup before, it was shocking to see the entire fan experience being sacrificed because of the decision to not think through alternative ways to connect with the audience emotionally. The way that the organizers of the Paris Olympics are thinking through that entire experience and how they make a lasting emotional impact with their audience is the right approach,” Alisa commented, “and I’m sure it will manifest itself in more meaningful ways even beyond the courageous decision to embed the events into their breathtaking landmarks and monuments.” 

Embedding Olympic venues within historic sites provides a platform for showcasing the diverse tapestry of Parisian culture. Each venue tells a story of its own, adding depth and dimension to the Olympic experience. Visitors aren’t just witnessing athletic prowess; they’re immersing themselves in a vibrant tapestry of art, history, and culture that is uniquely Parisian.

But perhaps the most compelling aspect of this approach is its ability to make a lasting emotional impact, fostering a sense of belonging and inclusivity. By embracing the city’s historic landmarks as integral parts of the Olympic experience, the organizers have created a space where people from all walks of life can come together, united by a shared love for sport and culture. Whether you’re a seasoned athlete, a passionate fan, or simply a curious traveler, there’s a place for you amidst the storied streets of Paris during the Olympics.

As the world converges on Paris this summer, let us revel in the beauty of this union between history and heritage, and let the spirit of the Olympics ignite our hearts and minds like never before.

Learn more about Haute and our dedication towards Return on EmotionTM.

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