Wednesday, August 19, 2015

No, Detroit probably shouldn't put in another Olympics bid

Posted By on Wed, Aug 19, 2015 at 8:08 AM

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Following news that Boston's bid to host the 2024 Olympic Games disintegrated last month, the Detroit Free Press posed a question on Tuesday: "Could Detroit ever host the games?"

As noted in the Free Press, Detroit has already put in seven bids to host the Olympics throughout the years — and failed every time, a record in its own right.

But that didn't stop the Free Press from entertaining a hypothetical joint Detroit-Windsor scheme. Comerica Park, Ford Field, and the future "U-Paid-For-It" Red Wings stadium could be repurposed to host events, while Windsor's new International Aquatic and Training Centre could also be utilized. Such a plan would also postpone the demolition of Joe Louis Arena, and see the creation of a brand-new stadium that could possibly later be used to house a major league soccer team. (Detroit City FC?)

The Free Press even created a fantasy map of the what a Detroit-Windsor Olympics would look like — based off of Detroit's failed bids and Boston's recently cancelled plan.

It's an entertaining read, and it does makes one wonder what could be. But in all likelihood, Detroit's Olympic dream should probably remain a pie in the sky. (It bears repeating that the Free Press plan is hypothetical, and no officials are pushing an Olympics bid.)

A group called No Boston Olympics has opposed its hometown's bid, penning op-eds and posting links to research that show that hosting the Olympics doesn't pay. They have three major points:
  • Hosting the Olympics doesn't boost economies — it mostly displaces economic activity that would otherwise have occurred. 

  • Olympics are expensive — the average cost is $15 billion — and taxpayers always get caught footing the bill when things inevitably go over budget.

  • Olympic bids push residents aside by distracting our elected officials from doing what we elected them to do — like "improving our schools, bringing down healthcare costs, creating a better business climate, or reducing urban violence."
Having just emerged from municipal bankruptcy, it just seems like Detroit would be destined to lose.

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