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IOC Concerned Over Lack of Chicago 2016 Guarantee

By Prescott Carlson in News on Sep 2, 2009 6:20PM

2009_9_olympic_logo.jpgWe're only 30 days away from finding out if Chicago will be the home for the 2016 Olympic Games, and a new report by the International Olympic Committee [PDF] has some highlights and lowlights. The report, a detailed summary of each Candidate City's pluses and minuses, has positive things to say about Chicago. The IOC likes the many public parks along Lake Michigan, and thinks the city can host the Games without needing to invest in "major permanent venues." The IOC also supports the city's plan to include "legacy projects" created for the Olympics. They also feel that Chicago has successfully demonstrated its ability to host lakefront festivals.

But amongst all the praise, one glaring issue stuck out -- who's going to foot the bills:

Chicago 2016 has not provided a full guarantee covering a potential economic shortfall of the [Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games], as requested by the IOC. Instead, it proposes a capped guarantee of USD 750 million, presenting a risk for the IOC should the short-fall exceed this amount. At the time of the Commission's visit, Chicago 2016 had formally requested the IOC to amend the Host City Contract. The Commission informed the bid that a standard Host City Contract applied to all cities.

The other Candidate Cities have all provided the full financial guarantees requested by the IOC, and as paying for the damn thing is obviously one of the huge priorities for the Committee, there's obviously concern that ink has not yet been put to paper on the IOC contract despite Mayor Daley's verbal commitment back in June. Expect a skittish Daley to make that happen very soon.

Another negative in the report is Chicago's ranking in terms of public support, coming in 3rd behind Rio de Janeiro and Madrid, both of which had 85% positive responses in an opinion poll conducted by the IOC. Chicago only had 67% respondents in favor of the Games, and Tokyo was at the bottom with 56%. As the report specifically mentioned concern over Tokyo's low number, the poll is obviously a factor in the final decision. [via Crain's Chicago Business]