The U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) sent letters Tuesday to the nation’s largest 25 metro areas, inviting city officials to submit a bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics. A day later, San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed shot down any idea of San Jose hosting future Olympic games in an email city staff this week.
Reed said that while it’s an honor for San Jose to be considered a potential Olympic host, it’s just too costly.
“Hosting the Olympics is a major undertaking with a price tag of $3 billion, according to the USOC,” Reed said in a statement. “In past efforts, Chicago and New York spent $10 million before the bid was submitted. Given this fiscal reality, San Jose doesn’t have the capacity to bid, nor can we take the lead on a regional effort.”
But if a nearby city—say, San Francisco—wants to take the lead, San Jose could chip in regional support, he adds.
“Should a regional effort emerge, we would be happy to discuss facilities, venues and infrastructure with the organizers, however, San Jose doesn’t have funds to invest in pursuing the bid,” Reed said.
The Olympics thrust cities into the international spotlight, but preparing for the month-long international games takes a huge toll. The USOC says the games require 45,000 hotel rooms, an Olympic village for 16,500 athletes, space for 15,000 reporters, an international airport, public transit, roadways able to be cordoned off for the event and a workforce of up to 200,000.
“Based on expected International Olympic Committee deadlines, we have 2+ years to decide whether we want to submit a bid for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games,” writes Scott Blackmun, CEO of the USOC. “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. Our objective in this process is to identify a partner city that can work with us to present a compelling bid to the IOC and that has the right alignment of political, business and community leadership. We are seeking a partner that understands the value of the Olympic Games and the legacy that can be created not only for their community, but for our country.”
While San Jose can technically handle the USOC’s demands through a regional effort, its resources are better spent elsewhere, the mayor says. Reed would obviously feel brush back from public employee unions, which have had their pay and benefits cut, and many city services that have been scaled back lack a timeline for restoration.
Unfortunately, the city also spends millions subsidizing projects such as Hayes Mansion ($5 million) and San Jose’s municipal golf courses ($4.1 million).