The International Olympic Committee, forced into a corner, has agreed to award the 2024 and 2028 Games at the same time later this year, with Paris likely to take the earlier edition and Los Angeles the later one.
Both had originally bid for the ’24 Olympics only, LA stepping in after Boston, the USA’s preferred choice, dropped out.
It withdrew after first Hamburg, then Rome and finally Budapest all cancelled their bids citing mainly exorbitant and increasing costs.
The spectre of corruption and dilapidated, unused venues also weighs heavily on the minds of potential bidders, as does the prospect of a long and very expensive campaign that for most ends in failure.
The cost of the campaigns alone can be enough to put anyone off throwing their hat in the ring.
Chris Dempsey from the “No Boston Olympics” group campaigned hard to make sure that bid was halted.
“We did not want to see [Boston’s] future put at risk by a 10 to 15 billion dollars sporting event that was going to leave our city with a bunch of venues we didn’t need and a lot of debt that we’d have to pay back," he said.
And he believes the IOC is far from transparent when it encourages cities to put themselves forward in the first place.
“This is not a race to see who is the best city…this is an auction where the IOC is trying to extract as many concessions as it possible can from the host cities.
"And I think cities around the world are wising up to that.”
But Seb Coe, now IAAF President but in 2012 the figurehead for the London Games, told ITV News today the Olympic movement needs to work harder to distinguish between cost and investment.
“I know that through the London years that the transformation of East London which is an extraordinary place now is in large part the story of the Games," he said.
"We have to go on explaining that what we are doing is not just delivering a great sporting event for two or three weeks, we have to leave things behind that make a difference in the lives of young people and I’m not sure as yet we’ve mastered that narrative.”
That the most recent Games in Rio de Janeiro were a sporting success is by and large unarguable, what has followed though in less than a year is far from encouraging.
Many of the venues are abandoned and are already falling into disrepair, the city can’t afford to run them.
The organisers of Rio Games are still thought to owe various suppliers and contractors more than £20 million.
The IOC has already contributed an astonishing £1.1 billion to Brazil’s showpiece event and will not be helping out anymore.
It is that legacy and not London’s which is pushing the IOC to be more creative.
They now start negotiating with both Paris and Los Angeles, hoping they can broker a way ahead to suit all parties.
When that is done it will be back to the drawing board and an increasingly unpopular one at that.