Wednesday, June 04, 2008

 

Chicago Makes The Cut

Unfortunately

I've long considered Chicago to be a front runner to host the 2016 summer games. The IOC selection process has a reputation for corruption. And our local political/business class knows corruption.

Which is why I hope Chicago's bid fails. City taxpayers are currently on the hook for at least $500 million, state taxpayers another $150 million. Backers of Chicago's bid, including Mayor Daley and Governor Blagojevich, insist these funds won't be needed. Maybe I'm being too cynical, but I just don't believe them.

Consider the recent history of large local projects. The Dan Ryan rebuild was supposed to cost $500 million; it cost $1 billion. Millennium Park was supposed to cost $150; I lost count when the cost passed the $500 million mark.

From a Chicago politician's perspective, the entire purpose of the Olympic bid is to produce more jobs and contracts, the maximum possible. How can they leave $650 million worth of jobs and contracts on the table? They can't.

Which is too bad. I'm not a fan of the Olympics, but hosting them would otherwise be good for the city.

Fortunately, Chicago's bid may be imperiled by this problem:
Influential IOC officials accused the U.S. Olympic Committee on Tuesday of refusing to renegotiate its "immoral" share of global Olympic revenues, reopening a dispute that could harm Chicago's bid for the 2016 Games.

Under a long-standing deal with the International Olympic Committee, the USOC receives nearly 13 percent of U.S. TV rights fees and 20 percent of global marketing revenues -- totaling hundreds of millions of dollars.

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