SBD/February 25, 2014/Olympics

USOC Targets Year's End To Select Bid City For '24 Games, Will Forgo Domestic Bid Process

Blackmun says the Olympics burden the host city, but transform the community
IOC members have "encouraged the U.S. to bid" for the '24 Summer Games, and the USOC is "intent on selecting a potential bid city by the end of the year," according to Tripp Mickle of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. The USOC's candidates include S.F., Boston, L.A., N.Y., Dallas, Philadelphia and DC. While IOC members are "said to favor a bid" from S.F., the USOC "hasn’t identified a favorite." USOC CEO Scott Blackmun said that the organization will "spend the rest of the year meeting with mayors and city leaders to evaluate the viability of a bid from each city." The USOC "hopes to select a city by the third quarter of this year" and have its board vote by March '15 on "whether the U.S. will put forward a bid." A U.S. bid "would face stiff competition" from Rome and Paris, which "both plan to bid." Doha, Qatar and South Africa "also have expressed interest." However, Blackmun said that the competition "wouldn’t weigh heavily on the USOC’s decision to put forward a bid." When the USOC selected Chicago as a bid city for the '16 Games, it "held a domestic bid process" and picked the city over L.A. It plans to "forgo that process this time because the cost for bid cities" can be more than $10M (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 2/24 issue). USA TODAY's Kelly Whiteside reports there is "the possibility that the USA will consider bidding" for the '26 Winter Games, even though the Summer Games would be "the more prestigious prize." Blackmun said of hosting the Olympics, "It's a big, heavy burden on cities and states. The payoff is what it does to transform sport in (a host city's) community and what it does for the nation." He acknowledged that the federal government "is only responsible for helping with security and transportation" (USA TODAY, 2/25).

NO BROTHERLY LOVE LOST?
 In Philadelphia, John Smallwood writes under the header, "Hassle Of Hosting Olympics Outweighs The Glory Of Hosting Games." The issue is "not that Philadelphia could not pull it off," but that the Olympic Games "simply are not worth the amount of costs, resources and inconveniences that come with them." Philadelphia "would not have the massive infrastructure cost other Olympic cities have incurred, but building Olympic-level venues would still cost billions." There would be "thousands of Olympic tourists, but the cost of security and the daily interruptions to everyday life would be enormous." Philadelphia is "already a world-known city, not some little hamlet looking for recognition" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 2/25).

'18 AND LIFE: In N.Y., Christopher Clarey asks, "Where do the Winter Games go from here in a world of climate instability, declining winter sports participation numbers in the West and spiraling costs and scale for Olympic organizers?" The "good news" is that Pyeongchang "does not need to build everything from scratch" for the '18 Winter Games, as it "already has five of its 13 venues, and a different plan." As has "become fashionable," the '18 Games will be "a two-cluster affair: with the indoor ice sports in the city and the snow and sliding sports in the mountains." But the difference in Pyeongchang’s case is that "the mountain sites are taking the lead in symbolic and practical terms." Indoor ice sports in '18 "will be in Gangneung, a northeastern coastal city of about 230,000." However, the "focal point in terms of identity will be Pyeongchang, the more lightly populated nearby county where the mountain sites will be based and which will also be the site of the opening and closing ceremonies." Pyeongchang's "centralized attempt to put the accent on atmosphere" is a "hopeful prospect." POCOG President Kim Jin-sun said that he "expects full venues because of local enthusiasm and relatively easy access from Seoul’s capital" (N.Y. TIMES, 2/25).
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