THE U.S. Olympic Committee recently asked Seattle if it would be interested in bidding to host the 2024 summer Olympic Games.
We should sprint from that notion faster than Usain Bolt.
Hosting the Olympic Games is ruinously expensive; London spent nearly $20 billion hosting in 2012. It often leaves white-elephant facilities with limited value; Beijing’s $480 million Bird’s Nest stadium sits mostly empty.
And cities suffer huge debt hangovers from a monthlong party; it took Montreal three decades to pay off the 1976 games.
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Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, responding to a U.S. Olympic Committee solicitation sent to 35 big cities, recently asked the Seattle Sports Commission to check out the process and feasibility of bidding on the 2024 games.
The solicitation notes that a host city needs 45,000 hotel rooms and an Olympic Village fit for 16,500 athletes, including a 5,000-person dining hall. Past bids cost $10 million, just to become qualifiers.
Seattle doesn’t need the headache or the debt. The city’s unemployment rate dropped below 6 percent, and the high-tech economy is humming. Tourism is already strong.
If Seattle wants to go big on a sporting event, the 2026 World Cup is a better fit. Seattle was among the potential host cities in the U.S.’s unsuccessful bid for the 2022 World Cup, which instead went to Qatar.
The U.S. is now favored for the next World Cup. Seattle has facilities, and certainly the fans, to support a bid.
Run for the Cup, not the gold.