SBD/Issue 38/Law & Politics

Decision '08: Chicago's 2016 Olympic Bid Could See Boost From Win

Turnout For Obama's Grant Park
Speech Could Boost Olympic Bid
Around 200,000 people gathered in Chicago's Grant Park Tuesday night for President-elect Barack Obama's victory speech, but what happened there was "significant for two other reasons" relating to Chicago's bid for the 2016 Olympics, according to Philip Hersh of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. First, the global media was on hand to see "what a striking city Chicago is on a night that was as summery as it was autumnal." Second, the crowd's "good behavior showed what the atmosphere could be during a 2016 Olympics, when Grant Park would have not only a sports venue (archery) and the marathon start but be a 'live site' -- a place where people would come for concerts and other entertainment and to watch the events on big screens." Chicago's ability to handle the Obama event "on short notice can only be a plus to those who wonder how it would cope with such large crowds at the Olympics" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 11/6). USA TODAY's Christine Brennan writes Obama's victory in the Presidential election "just might have ensured that the 2016 Summer Games will be held in Chicago." Obama reportedly lives "a couple of blocks" from the proposed Olympic Stadium site in Washington Park, and if Obama were to attend the IOC Session next October in Copenhagen, when the organization will name the host for the 2016 Games, "swooning IOC members might not be able to control themselves and might find themselves doing what they often are loath to do: vote for the USA, in anything." Brennan writes if Obama "so much as sneezes in the IOC's direction, with the way Europe has embraced the president-elect, the battle over the 2016 Games could be over long before the networks call the Minnesota Senate race," which will be decided by a recount (USA TODAY, 11/6). In Chicago, Fran Spielman writes Obama's election "doesn't mean Chicago is a shoo-in" to host the 2016 Games, but bid cities Tokyo, Madrid and Rio de Janeiro are "probably running scared right about now." Chicago Mayor Richard Daley: "You can bring your Olympics ... (only) so far. Your prime minister (or) your president has to then carry the football. ... It helps us tremendously, but you can't take it for granted. That would hurt us ... in the eyes of the International Olympic Committee" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 11/6).

Ryan Says Obama Will Be 
Very Important To Chicago 2016 Bid
BID REPS DEBATE: Chicago 2016 Chair Patrick Ryan said of Obama, "He has traveled around the world. He is a very highly regarded international global figure. He loves sport and he is very proud of Chicago. I don't see any reason why he would be negative at all" (REUTERS, 11/5). Ryan said of Obama's victory speech in Chicago, "It really gave people the chance to see the center city of Chicago and how the Games would be. Now Chicago is going to become a much more relevant place, and people are going to become more informed about it. That's very advantageous for the bid." Ryan added of Obama's effect on the bid, "I think clearly he'll be very important." Former USOC Chair Peter Ueberroth, who is assisting the Chicago 2016 bid, said, "I think when any head of state shows his support in any manner, it enhances the bid, especially when the votes are so close." But Madrid 2016 Dir of Media & Strategy Malcolm Munro said, "Whilst things like political support are obviously important, we hope at the end of the day that the decision is made simply on which is the best city to host the Olympics" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/6).

BACK IN THE GAME? The AP's Ronald Blum reported with Obama winning the presidency, MLB officials "think their sport could have a better chance of getting back into the Summer Olympics." Padres CEO Sandy Alderson yesterday at the GM meetings in California said, "If the perception internationally of the United States improves by virtue of his election, then I think the U.S. stature in international sport of every type will be enhanced. I don't think the United States has the international stature in sport that it once had." Indians Exec VP & GM Mark Shapiro: "I think clearly how the world looks at America is going to be different with Barack Obama in the White House. And that will be initial. And then how he leads and how he governs will determine how they look at us over a sustained period." Blum noted the IOC "will consider the program" for the 2016 Games at next October's meeting. MLB Exec VP/Baseball Operations Jimmie Lee Solomon: "I think it's a great opportunity for us to get back in. I don't know if the election in and of itself would do that. We've got some big problems" (AP, 11/5). Meanwhile, White Sox GM Ken Williams said if Obama "would like to throw out the first pitch on Opening Day next year, we can find a spot for him" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 11/6).

OBAMA EFFECT: In N.Y., Michael O'Keeffe reports while Obama will not be inaugurated until January 20, 2009, he has "already cast a long shadow over sports." SportsCorp President Marc Ganis: "There are a number of meaningful areas where he will have an impact, before he even takes office." O'Keeffe notes the "most immediate effect comes from the tax proposals he articulated during the campaign," from which player associations "figure to benefit." Former MLBPA Exec Dir Marvin Miller said the National Labor Relations Board was "purposely starved for years for money by Bush administrators. The time it takes to process an unfair labor practice is unconscionable." Meanwhile, Univ. of Chicago professor of sports economics Allen Sanderson predicted that Obama's appointments to the FCC "will side with NFL Network and other content providers who have battled cable companies to get their networks into more homes" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 11/6). The AP's Blum noted agent Scott Boras viewed Obama's election "as positive" for MLBers. Boras: "Both in the NLRB and the situation of the union's relationship with the federal system, it's going to be greatly improved" (AP, 11/5).

Allen, Other Athletes Note Potential
Tax Increases Under Obama Could Hurt Them
TAX EQUATION: Some athletes have "wondered how Obama's tax plan would affect their wallets." PGA Tour golfer Boo Weekley said that he had "planned to retire once he reached $8[M] in career winnings." But he added, "That number went up, as of [Tuesday] night." Vikings DE Jared Allen: "It's a sad day for me. I'm a McCain supporter. There is nothing I can do about it now. Our paychecks will be cut in half" (AP, 11/5). Eagles RB Brian Westbrook: "If we could find a way to lower taxes for everybody, it would be great, but I think one of the things that Obama tried to mention is (the need to work) for the greater good, and opportunity for everybody to get better ... hopefully, that will happen" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 11/6). Vikings DE Jared Allen expressed "dismay to a gaggle of reporters that Obama's election could cause him to surrender a bit more" of his $74.5M contract. Vikings WR Bobby Wade added, "When you're dealing with money, people always are going to try to protect what they have. But on the grand scale of things, what this election means in the history of this country -- and, I believe, for the future of this country -- outweighs being asked to sacrifice a little more out of what's still a very nice paycheck" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 11/6). Saints DE Will Smith said that the "tax issue isn't as important to him as it is to others because he 'didn't really have anything growing up." Smith said that he wore an Obama T-shirt yesterday to "'mess with the guys' who were ticked off about the results" (New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE, 11/6). Meanwhile, WFAN-AM's Mike Francesa said of the potential of agents asking for more money to adapt to potential tax increases under an Obama administration, “Scott Boras likes to talk and people like to listen because he’s got a lot of good players. Listen, his players are going to make plenty of money. Now he’s going to adjust it for these tax increases. It’s a bunch of nonsense, lets be honest. They have plenty of money, they’re going to make plenty of money, move on. Four percent of their money is not going to break you” (“Mike Francesa,” YES Network, 11/5).

PLAYOFF PAYOFF: YAHOO SPORTS' Dan Wetzel wrote under the header, "College Football Commander-In-Chief?" Noting Obama's comments in an interview with ESPN's Chris Berman during "Monday Night Football" that he would like to see a playoff in college football, Wetzel wrote, "Who would vote against the man who freed us from the tyranny of the BCS?" Wetzel added, referencing Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany, "A suggestion for the inaugural address: 'Mr. Delany, tear down this wall!' Yes We Can" (, 11/5). However,'s Ray Ratto wrote Obama's "failure to turn the SEC or Big 12 from red to blue tells us one thing: The world is not yet ready for a federally mandated college football playoff" (, 11/5). 

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