Will the city of Brotherly Love be home to the Olympic Games? That’s what Mayor Michael Nutter is hoping for. The Mayor sent a letter to the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) expressing interest in hosting the 2024 Summer Games.
“The Philadelphia region has enthusiastically embraced the prospect of bidding on and hosting a future Olympic Games, and we look forward with great anticipation to the opportunity to work with the USOC on this project,” said Mayor Nutter. “The City of Philadelphia shares the USOC’s dedication to building a spectacular experience for the Olympic athletes, the Olympic family, and the watching world. We have had great success partnering with other organizations to host world-class events and we are committed to working cooperatively and effectively under the direction of the USOC in the months -- and hopefully -- years ahead.”
Back in February, the USOC sent a letter to 35 cities, including Philadelphia, to gauge interest for the 2024 games.
The USOC has two years before they will decide whether they even want to submit a bid for 2024, but for now they are exploring the possibility.
"We would like to begin having discussions with interested cities about possible bid themes as well as the infrastructure, financial resources and other assets that are required to host the Games," said USOC CEO Scott Blackmun in the letter.
After first receiving the letter, Mayor Nutter said that Philadelphia had an incredible array of facilities, and a unique location with easy access by road, rail, air and water, but also called everything "prematurely premature."
"Other than the wonder and the spectacle of it, we're talking about something that is 11 years away, that the United States Olympic Committee has to first decide to bid or not," said Nutter last February.
Philadelphia has been down this road before, reaching the top five U.S. cities in the running for 2016, before being beat out by Chicago, who was ultimately passed over for Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.
Larry Needle, Executive Director of the Philadelphia Sports Congress talks with pride about making the top five list for 2016 and says the feedback they received from the Olympic Committee and consultants back then is that Philadelphia is a viable choice.
"I think we've got a great story to tell as this modern renaissance city and there's no question that I think we could and should be a player in this," said Needle.
He said the idea is not just to land the event, but to explore what the city's Olympic legacy would be, like leaving behind improved transportation infrastructure, neighborhoods, and venues to be used on a regular basis and to look at the ultimate impact on international tourism for Philadelphia.
So what would it take?
The Olympic Committee says the operating budget would be around $3 billion dollars, not including costs associated with venue construction.
The USOC letter also lays out these requirements for cities:
- 45,000 hotel rooms
- An Olympic Village that sleeps 16,500 and has a 5000-person dining hall
- Operations space for over 15,000 media and broadcasters
- An international airport that can handle thousands of international travelers per day
- Public transportation service to venues
- Roadway closures to allow exclusive use for Games-related transportation
- A workforce of up to 200,000
The last time the U.S. hosted the Olympics was the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City, and the last Summer Games held here was Atlanta in 1996.
"It's a long way from here to there, but we're excited to at least be talking about the possibility," said Needle.