UPDATE: Chicago 2016 Olympic Bid Faces One-Month Countdown

September 2, 2009: The decision on which of four cities would host the 2016 Summer Olympics is just one month off, and the contingent representing Chicago plans to use that time to its greatest advantage. Chicago 2016 has released its "Stewardship Report," a detailed document that "demonstrates Chicago 2016’s commitment to transparency, sound management practices, effective fund-raising and track record of cost containment."

Chicago has received the backing of many influential officials and athletes, including President Barack Obama. Still, there is substantial opposition to the bid, both in Chicago and nationwide, which Chicago 2016 plans to quell with this report.

According to the Stewardship Report, the Chicago 2016 bid has been 100% privately financed — revenues through June 30, primarily from contributions, were $76.9 million, $3.7 million ahead of the overall budget; has managed expenses within its approved budget; has demonstrated commitment to diversity and inclusion; leveraged best practices and procedures; relied on experts to ensure the bid’s plan is achievable and responsible and manages delivery and financial risk.

Officials from the International Olympic Committee earlier this year visited Chicago, as well as bid cities Madrid, Tokyo and Rio de Janeiro. The IOC on Sept. 2 released an evaluation report regarding the four cities in contention to host the 2016 Summer Games. According to the IOC, the report is a "technical analysis of the four candidate cities, which is sent to the IOC members one month before the election of the host city." The report does not compare or grade each city versus the others, but focuses on strengths and weaknesses in each as a guideline to the IOC members who are scheduled to vote on Oct. 2.

The Evaluation Commission, chaired by Nawal El Moutawakel, IOC member from Morocco and Olympic champion, spent four days in each candidate city to conduct on-site analyses and assess their ability to stage the Olympic Games in 2016. The report indicates what each of the cities - Chicago, Madrid, Tokyo and Rio de Janeiro - have to offer, but also shows each has shortcomings. In the case of Chicago, the IOC has concerns about financial backing:

"The roles and responsibilities of the Federal Government and the State of Illinois have been clearly defined. However, a clearer delineation of roles and responsibilities between the City and the OCOG would be required to ensure that the OCOG would not be overburdened operationally and financially by the delivery of Games infrastructure or by the management of diverse programmes not directly linked to the delivery of the event.

"Chicago 2016 has not provided a full guarantee covering a potential economic shortfall of the OCOG, as requested by the IOC. Instead, it proposes a capped guarantee of $750 million (U.S.), presenting a risk for the IOC should the short-fall exceed this amount." (Full report here.)

Regarding Chicago 2016's self-assessment, “The Stewardship Report provides a detailed summary of how the bid is using its resources,” Patrick Ryan, chairman and CEO for Chicago 2016, said in a statement. “If we are fortunate enough to win the honor of hosting the Games, the residents of Chicago can expect similar transparency with quarterly financial reports to the city council.”

According to the report, the effort to prepare for and stage the Games will create an economic stimulus for the Chicago area "generating an estimated incremental economic impact of $22.5 billion over the 2011–21 period, including the creation of 315,000 job-years of employment, $7 billion of incremental employment income, and more than $1 billion in incremental tax revenues to various levels of government." The report breaks down expenditures by Chicago 2016, including the fact that $3.5 million has been spent on advertising.

The report also stresses the impact that supporters have had on the bid process. “Nearly 1.500 individuals and organizations have made financial contributions,” Ryan said. “Many thousands more have given of their time and talent. Chicago-area businesses and organizations have been extraordinarily generous in providing pro bono support, and our list of volunteers stands at more than 20.000.”

The Civic Federation of Chicago has also released a report on the projections and estimates contained in Chicago 2016’s financial plan for the Games. That report claims that “the operating budget, including venue construction, proposed by Chicago 2016 is fair and reasonable” and recommends that the Chicago City Council provide oversight and receive “regular reports.” The Civic Federation is a non-partisan group comprised of business and professional leaders from Chicago companies and institutions.

“Our intention was always to work closely with the council if we are awarded the Games, and periodic reports on our progress would be a key part of that effort,” Ryan said.

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IOC Visits Chicago To Assess Bid For 2016 Summer Games

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