SBD/June 11, 2014/Olympics

USOC Cagey On Details Of Meeting Regarding Potential Bid Cities For '24 Games

Probst wouldn't say how many cities were cut, or which ones remained
The USOC yesterday narrowed the list of potential bid cities interested in hosting the '24 Games, though USOC Chair Larry Probst declined to say how many cities were cut or what cities remain under consideration for a bid. He said several weeks ago that the plan was to cut the number of remaining candidates to three during yesterday’s USOC BOD meeting in Boston. Cities interested in bidding include Boston, Dallas, L.A., S.F. and DC. Probst said, “We think it’s appropriate for us to get in touch with those cities in advance of any public announcement and sometime in the next 10 to 20 days we’ll get back to you with more information.” The USOC plans to spend the next three to four months evaluating the final candidates, looking at everything from their plans for an Opening Ceremony stadium to an athlete village. The organization also plans to discuss the joint-marketing agreement it would have to sign with a city as part of the bid process. The IOC in December is expected to weigh potential changes to its requirements for and selection of Olympic host cities. The USOC wants to evaluate any changes before making a decision in December or early next year about whether or not it will put forward one of the cities as a potential host for the '24 Games. Probst: “What’s adopted by the full (IOC) membership, that’s going to be important for us to consider. We want to see what changes are adopted before we push the go-button.” The last U.S. city to bid for a Summer Olympics was Chicago, which lost in the first round of voting to host the '16 Games. The IOC will pick the host of the '24 Games in '17. The USOC opted to have an informal domestic city selection process rather than a formal one because it wanted to minimize costs for interested cities. USOC CEO Scott Blackmun said the due-diligence process will be integral to identifying a potential host city. Blackmun: "It’s a lot of land planning. It’s a lot of discussion around the host city contract. It’s planning around the details of the Games and making sure the big ticket items ... have appropriate places” (Tripp Mickle, Staff Writer).

KEEP IT ON THE DOWN LOW: In DC, Liz Clarke reports USOC officials have asked '24 candidate cities "to go about their lobbying campaigns discreetly and with little fanfare for two reasons." One is to "help rein in cost." Blackmun acknowledged yesterday that another was to "enable civic leaders to speak more freely in exploratory conversations with the USOC without 'political risk.'" Meanwhile, Clarke notes it is an "open question whether choosing Washington, a city synonymous with American politics, as its candidate city would prove a help or hindrance to the USOC in winning the votes of the IOC delegates" (WASHINGTON POST, 6/11). The AP's Eddie Pells noted unlike the "domestic process that led to Chicago's failed 2016 bid, this process has been deliberatively secretive." The "domestic stage of Chicago's bid cost the city" about $10M (AP, 6/10). In Boston, Mark Arsenault notes the USOC is "not even sure yet if it will choose any US city to complete" for the '24 Games (BOSTON GLOBE, 6/11).
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