A Trifling Place
4:11 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

Charlotte 2024? A Checklist For The Olympics

Charlotte has expressed interest in hosting the Olympics ... but does it even meet the requirements?
Credit flickr/Atos International

Last week, the U.S. Olympic Committee sent a letter to the mayors of the 25 largest cities (Charlotte ranks 19th) and ten other cities that expressed interest in hosting in the past. But as The New York Times notes, many of the cities on the list don't even meet the requirements the USOC demands.

Let's take a look at Charlotte:

  • A workforce of up to 200,000: Check.
  • An international airport: Check. 
  • "An Olympic Village":
  • Workspace for 15,000 journalists: Check
  • Space for 16,500 athletes/officials: Check. 
  • 45,000 hotel rooms: Nope.

And then there’s the issue of $3 billion. The USOC requires that host cities make a $3 billion commitment for the Games. Mayor Foxx noted that would be no easy task.

"Well, you know a $3 billion dollar investment is a pretty significant investment," Foxx says. "Umm … I'm still looking for $1 billion (for the capital improvement plan). So we've a little ways to go. But I think our community will rise to the occasion if and when we decide to go for it."

Foxx says Atlanta pulled it off by relying on regional financial partners and Charlotte can do the same if it pursues it.

Credit Tasnim Shamma

After all, Atlanta hosted the DNC in 1988. Eight years later, they hosted the Olympics. 

It's also a big risk. New York was selected by the USOC for the 2012 Olympics and Chicago for the 2016 Olympics and after spending more than $10 million trying to look attractive, it was beat out by other cities abroad.

Laura Hill, with the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, says it's not impossible. 

"At this point, it’s an honor to be in the consideration set and as with any monumental event of this nature, we will fully explore the request alongside the mayor and other key stakeholders, then decide whether we have the resources to host an event of this magnitude," Hill said in an e-mail.

Then there's the other disqualifier: hotel rooms. Hill says Mecklenburg County only has a total of 24,010 total rooms. Can the county double the number of rooms in a decade? … Probably not. The six-county metropolitan statistical area has 31,673 total rooms, according to the CRVA. 

Here's a list of the 35 cities:

  • Phoenix, AZ
  • CA: San Jose; Los Angeles; Sacramento; San Diego; San Francisco
  • Denver, CO
  • Baltimore, MD
  • Washington, DC
  • FL: Jacksonville, Orlando, Miami
  • Atlanta, GA
  • Chicago, IL
  • Indianapolis, ID
  • Detroit, MI
  • Minneapolis, MN
  • St. Louis, MO
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • NY: New York, Rochester
  • Charlotte, NC
  • Boston, MA
  • Columbus, OH
  • Tulsa, OK
  • Portland, OR
  • PA: Philadelphia; Pittsburgh
  • TN: Memphis, Nashville and Davidson County
  • TX: Austin, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio
  • Seattle, WA

The International Olympic Committee will choose the 2024 host city in 2017.