Mayor Reed Says Thanks, But No Thanks to Hosting 2024 Olympics

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).

Jennifer Wadsworth is the former news editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley. Follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.


  1. Mayor Reed is the worst mayor San Jose has ever had, period!  How could he say no to Olympic?!  How can San Jose claim to be the Capital of Silicon Valley if it doesn’t act like one?  Downtown SJ is a medeocre joke with no highrise development and no vitality.  It’s all stem from Mayor Reed’s administration.  We need a new mayor who is downtown centric and all for San Jose being a world class city to befitting the High Tech Capital of The World!

  2. This Mayor speaks of Honor , Yet couldnt possibly understand what the word means . He is more than willing to continue to waste Taxpayer monies pushing an Illegal ballot measure , wasting millions on extremely questionable land deals , wasting money on trying to bring the OAKLAND A’s to San Jose , Giving Lew Wolfe real estate for pennies on the Dollar . All of this with the fact that this Mayor cant be trusted or believed . He has lied , cheated and stolen . Anyone else would already be in jail

  3. The olympics in SJ? The mayor is smoking crack to even pretend that SJ could host such an event. Well maybe Lew Wolff could donate the land and head up construction with all his buddies such as Swenson, Devcon and the host of other benefited land owners such as the Rubio’s….. There must have been too many constraints that would not allow Chuck to hand feed his friends at tax payer expense. When will the sleepy little town wake up??

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