News Column

Detroit: No, Thanks, 2024 Olympics

March 7, 2013

Matt Helms

Mayor Dave Bing says Detroit is not ready to bid on the 2024 Olympics given the city's deep financial crisis and the looming state appointment of an emergency manager.

Bing said Wednesday that the city declined an invitation by the U.S. Olympic Committee to bid for the games, with Detroit in no position to cough up the significant amount of money it would take to host the event. Detroit nearly hosted the games in 1968, narrowly losing out to Mexico City.

Bing said the city appreciates the opportunity and noted that Detroit has hosted major sporting events, including college basketball's Final Four, Major League Baseball's All-Star Game, the National Football League's Super Bowl in 2006, two baseball World Series and nine National Hockey League Stanley Cup finals, but "this decision is not an easy one."

"With our rich history of hosting major events and Detroit's prime location on an international border, we recognize that this makes Detroit an appealing candidate to potentially host the 2024 Olympics and Paralympics," Bing said in a statement released this morning.

"However, the bid calls for a $10 million upfront bid process payment and adding more than a $3 billion operating budget commitment -- not including cost associated with venue construction and other infrastructure cost. Unfortunately, due to the timing and uncertainty of Detroit's long-term financial stability, we must respectfully decline to participate."

Detroit would have been required to have tens of thousands more hotel rooms and many other facilities built to accommodate the event and the international athletes and journalists who come with it.

While downtown has been rebounding, Detroit is perhaps days away from the appointment of an emergency manager by Gov. Rick Snyder, who concurred with a review team's recent report that the city is in a financial emergency it can't fix without state intervention.

Source: (c)2013 the Detroit Free Press. Distributed by MCT Information Services.

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