DC To Bid For '24 Summer Olympics, With Baltimore, Richmond Possibly Part Of Plan
DC 2024 yesterday announced that it is "interested in trying" to bring the '24 Summer Olympics to the DC region, "eleven years after a joint Washington-Baltimore bid to host the Summer Olympics was snubbed," according to Liz Clarke of the WASHINGTON POST. DC 2024 President Bob Sweeney said that he felt DC "enters the process as 'a front-runner.'" Sweeney noted that among the events the Greater Washington Sports Alliance -- the group behind the DC 2024 initiative -- has "staged or had a hand in procuring" are the Army-Navy football game at FedExField and the NCAA Frozen Four at Verizon Center. Redskins Owner Daniel Snyder and Wizards and Capitals Owner Ted Leonsis "publicly backed the bid" yesterday. Sweeney said that he also has "gotten supportive feedback" from the office of DC Mayor Vincent Gray. Although the IOC "won’t select the host of the 2024 Summer Games until 2017, Washington is fairly late in announcing its interest." Sweeney projected that the "true expense" for a city to host the games would be between $4-6B. Sweeney: "The cost is enormous but very doable." Sweeney said that his group will need to raise $3-5M "in the next two years, mostly from the private sector." Sweeney: "This is a regional bid that involves two states and a major city. We are maybe the only major world capital that has never hosted the Games. We really believe it would be our turn to shine" (WASHINGTON POST, 8/28). Sweeney said that the bid "would pick up elements of its failed 2012 attempt, but is now in a better position to host" with a new convention center, Nationals Park and an improved Metro system. USA TODAY's Kelly Whiteside reported the bid also is "exploring the idea" of an Olympic Village in downtown DC. The '12 proposal "focused on a village in College Park, Md., at the University of Maryland" (USATODAY.com, 8/27).
SHARING THE LOVE: In Baltimore, Ambrose & Dresser in a front-page piece report local venues "would stage Olympic events" under DC 2024's plan. Sweeney: "Quite honestly, we can't do it without Baltimore. Baltimore is a big partner in our game plan." He said that the group has reached out to Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and Gray, and "all three support the group's work toward a possible bid." Sweeney added that he "understood that the USOC wanted to work with just one jurisdiction, instead of two." So DC is "taking the lead." Maryland Office of Sports Marketing Exec Dir Terry Hasseltine said that the decision was "made to submit a bid under only Washington's name because of its international profile." Hasseltine added that Maryland "can offer a 'great transportation infrastructure,' and Baltimore's hotels would be keys to any Olympic bid." Among the places Hasseltine "identified as potential sites of Olympic events" are the Camden Yards complex, FedExField and the Univ. of Maryland. He said that the Inner Harbor and Annapolis "would be potential sites for water sports, and Garrett County would be a candidate to host white-water events." Hasseltine wrote the bid ultimately "could involve sites as far south as Richmond" (Baltimore SUN, 8/28). DC United officials said that the MLS club would "welcome plans to have the team's proposed Buzzard Point soccer stadium be a part of a bid to bring the 2024 Olympics to the District." Team CMO Doug Hicks said that DC 2024 reps "have not reached out to the organization about their exploration of a potential Olympic bid but that he is hopeful those conversations will take place as the group moves forward with its exploration" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 8/27).
A LOT TO BE SORTED OUT: In DC, Marc Lancaster writes, "From the glory to the guts, there’s plenty to be sorted out as the Washington area takes another swing at landing its first Olympic Games." Lancaster: "It’s breathtaking to contemplate the hurdles that must be cleared just to get to that point, which of course would only be the preamble to seven more years of preparation for the event itself" (WASHINGTON TIMES, 8/28). In DC, Brad Plumer writes under the header, "Economists: It's A Terrible Idea For DC To Host The 2024 Olympics" (WASHINGTON POST, 8/28). U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT's Pat Garofalo wrote, "Plenty of bad ideas come out of Washington, D.C., but, aside from the GOP mulling over destroying the nation's credit in a fit of pique, there is perhaps none worse than having the District of Columbia bid to host the Olympics." There "must be a better use for billions of dollars than building sporting facilities that will rarely, if ever, be used again." Building new sports facilities "does tend to enrich the already rich owners of professional sports franchises." That is why it is "no surprise" to see Snyder "getting really excited." If DC "wants to engage in economic development and upgrading infrastructure, by all means, it should plow ahead right now." There is "no need to use hosting an international sporting event as an excuse to invest in better mass transit and infrastructure" (USNEWS.com, 8/27).