Since the start of the modern Olympic Games, and more recently the Paralympic Games, urban development linked to this mega-event has changed: the mono-stadium model typical of the early modern Games has been replaced by the model of an Olympic district. Because the events take place across multiple sites, the Games are often associated with investments in transportation. The paper aims to explore how, even in the case of a failed bid to stage the Olympic and Paralympic Games (OPGs), bidding for the Games can give rise to urban developments. In particular, bidding to host the Games can contribute to the reinforcement of transportation infrastructure. This study draws upon the case of the Istanbul bid. The Istanbul case is analyzed from the perspective of the bidding process before and after the reference to the Olympic Committee. The study examines the changes in the capacity of the transportation and tourist infrastructure through the official reports, statistics and annuals, as well as related literature. The case shows how bidding for big events such as the OPGs can drive investment and directly or indirectly impact economic activities, in particular in the tourism sector, whatever the result of the bidding process.