Posts Tagged ‘Olympics’

Boston in 2024?

January 12, 2015

Last week, the U.S. Olympic Committee selected Boston as the city to represent the American bid for the 2024 Olympic Summer Games. Since there hasn’t been a Summer Games staged in the United States since Atlanta in 1996 and no Olympics since 2002 Salt Lake City, much is riding on this bid.Boston 2024

After the Chicago bid—and almost immediate rejection of that bid by the International Olympic Committee—the United States is looking to make this bid count. The Boston bid seems to be more of a cost-efficient proposal, rather than major spending on new venues as has been the norm in the last few bids.

The 2024 Olympics could include field hockey events at Harvard Stadium, archery at MIT and beach volleyball on the Boston Common, among other venues, taking advantage of the region’s many universities and public spaces.

In choosing Boston, the USOC bypassed Washington D.C. and two other cities, including

San Francisco and Los Angeles. L.A. is the host of the next US. Olympic Marathon Trials, and the awarding of that bid was seen as a move to bolster its Summer Olympics bid effort.

The Washington D.C. bid, which was led by local businessman Russ Ramsey and co-chaired by Wizards and Capitals owner Ted Leonsis, included many of the area’s most prominent business and political leaders. It focused on constructing a new stadium on the site of RFK Stadium and an Olympic Village and tennis center along the Anacostia River that organizers hoped would help revitalize some of the city’s poorest neighborhoods.

The IOC will make its final decision on a host city in September 2017. Other candidates could include Rome, Paris, the German cities of Hamburg or Berlin, and Durban or Johannesburg from South Africa.

A Durban or Johannesburg bid could lead to the first Olympics in Africa. A Paris Olympics would have the advantage of commemorating the 100th anniversary of the 1924 Games. Like Boston, Hamburg has never staged a Summer Games and Rome hasn’t hosted since 1960.

But unlike the failed Chicago bid, the U.S. bid seems to have a better chance of having its representative city be chosen for the Olympics. The USOC has worked hard to mend hard feelings and relationships between its group and the IOC, and sticky issues like money (isn’t it always about money?) and rights fees over broadcasts have been smoothed out.

Congratulations to Boston—now let’s figure out how traffic will be moving during the games on those narrow streets!

“Jackass” Sports May Be the Future

February 6, 2014

Longtime NBC Sports anchor Bob Costas caused a bit of a stir in January when, as he was asked about the new winter Olympic sport of Slopestyle, called it “Jackass stuff.”

Now, he wasn’t throwing out a slur, but instead he was making a reference to the Johnny Knoxville “Jackass” movies, where people do unconventional stunts and sometimes (well, most of the time) fall on their faces.

For the record, slopestyle is a competitive event for freestyle snowboarders, as well as skiers that involves an athlete performing tricks in the air as well as on rails and boxes. You’re judged on style and difficulty, just like figure skating.

So what’s the controversy? The Olympics moved into this end of freestyle sports in 1998, when snowboarding and its affiliated competitions were added to the winter Games in Nagano. Not only did the sport bring in a new genre of athlete (think X Games) but just as importantly, a new genre of Olympic fan.

Let’s face it, it’s probably difficult for your 16-year-old to watch curling or ice dancing. But snowboarding might draw him or her to the TV. The Olympics is expanding its audience by expanding its sports.

That’s something that ESPN learned in 1995 when it launched the summer X Games, (Extreme Games) and then the winter version in 1997. A case study of the 2010 X Games in Los Angeles, conducted by the economic research firm Micronomics found that the games had a $50 million economic impact on the city.

Starting in 2014, the summer games will go to Austin, Texas for four years, and while it costs about $20 million to stage the games, the economic impact (along with sponsorships and financial incentives) is seen as a worthwhile investment.

For the winter X Games, the economic impact for the host city has been estimated to have generated $500,000 per day for the games, including the music fests, interactive X-Fest village and other activities.

On a smaller scale, the Dew Tour action sports tour still means a major economic impact for its host areas. The summer Dew Tour brings in an estimated $11 million to $13 million in economic impact, and the Ocean City Dew Tour won the Maryland Economic Engine Tourism Award with an estimated 103,000 attendees making an $11.5 million economic impact to the area and the state.

In addition to the economic impact, being the host of an extreme sports tour or event adds a certain ‘coolness’ factor for the young professionals in your area. For any region trying to retain, and attract, the YPs (see Austin), this kind of event, with its ancillary music, tech and festival components, can pay off.

So Bob Costas may not be wrong in his assessment of “jackass” sports, but the bottom line is that extreme athletes, events and their fans can bring in a significant (if not ‘extreme’) payoff for the host communities.

Jackie Reau

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NASC Member Cities Host 17 of 19 Olympic Trials

July 12, 2012

Recently we had occasion to take a look at the cities that hosted Olympic trials events in preparation for the London Games. As we did, we realized our members have played a huge role in helping to qualify and prepare our athletes.

Of the 19 Olympic sports that held trials for the 26 sports on this year’s program (7 sports select their teams without trials events), 17 were held in NASC member cities. Both of the exceptions are former members where a staff person left the organization prior to this year. This equals 89 percent of the sports holding trials.

Since some of those sports (aquatics, for example) have four sports, there were actually 31 different trials events for the 19 sports. Swimming, diving, synchronized swimming and water polo held their events in four different cities.

NASC members hosted 29 of the 31 different disciplines within the sports, or 94 percent of all of the trials events held for the 19 sports on the program for the 2012 Olympic Games.

It could not be any clearer: NASC members play an absolutely essential role in these events.

We are very proud of each host city and look forward to seeing the athletes who qualified medal for the USA in London!

– Don