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Posts Tagged ‘Barack Obama’

No chance for Chicago to host 2016 Olympics

Posted by ZA on August 11, 2009

I have always thought Chicago was a very strong contender to be selected to host the 2016 Summer Olympics.  Chicago is a fantastic option for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) because it is an American city that is rich in culture, has solid infrastructure, the necessary venues to host competitions and a wealth of corporate sponsorship opportunities.  So it already had a lot going for it, and then it got the cherry on top of the sundae when a Chicago Senator (Barack Obama) was elected President of the United States.  It makes for a compelling pitch when the most powerful man in the free world is in your corner.  I’m sure the host committee members from Chicago had to share my enthusiasm for their chances, they surely have been feeling pretty good about their bid against Madrid, Rio and Tokyo.

But their good feelings might now be changing to despair, because the latest feud between the IOC and United States Olympic Committee (USOC) is probably going to knock them out of contention.  Just like a runner that leads the entire race only to pull up lame in the final stretch, it appears Chicago’s hopes of hosting the 2016 Olympics are going to suffer the same fate.  The reason why I have moved Chicago from top contender to an also-ran in this competition has everything to do with the relationship of the USOC and IOC.

The relationship between these two sports governing bodies has been tenuous for awhile, but atleast it remained civil.  But the two organizations are now fighting over whether the USOC has the authority to launch their own Olympics Network and the bad blood is spilling over into the media.  A top IOC executive was quoted in the New York Times calling the USOC “arrogant” and saying they subverting the IOC.  A day later the IOC issued a written statement that condemned the television plans of the USOC.  The IOC statement said the USOC acted “unilaterally” in announcing their plans for an American Olympic Network.  The COO of the USCO said he would be flying to Switzerland later this month to work out things with IOC officials.

So what is the big deal about this particular feud between the IOC & USOC?
As I said these two organizations have feuded before.  The problem here is the timing of this feud to the general assembly vote in November.  That vote from the IOC will decide which city is selected to host the 2016 Games.  Don’t think this latest act of defiance (in the eyes of the IOC) isn’t going to influence voters to select another country to host the 2016 Olympics.  I would bet their have already been phone calls and emails between IOC voting members from other countries, who are developing plans to teach the USOC a lesson by not voting for Chicago.

An ugly mess if you ask me, and one poorly timed by the USOC.  They project advertising revenue of $40-$50 million dollars per year from their new Olympic Network, but that is nothing compared to the billions an Olympics on US soil would have brought in.  Why not wait until after the general assembly vote to announce your network plans?  I’m sure there was a strategic reason for the announcement now, but I just can’t see any way for them to make this situation right in-time to salvage the 2016 Olympics bid of Chicago.  Sad deal, because I think Chicago would have hosted a great Summer Olympics.


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