SUMMER OLYMPICS: Minneapolis tapped as possible host city - KMSP-TV

SUMMER OLYMPICS: Minneapolis tapped as possible host city

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Picture an opening ceremony in the new Vikings stadium, gymnastics at the Xcel Energy Center and soccer at The Bank -- it could happen, but what would it take?

The U.S. Olympic Committee sent letters out to 35 cities to see if they have any interest in hosting the 2024 summer games. Minneapolis made the list, but if the city is serious, it'll need to start planning now.

In the dead of Minnesota winter, it can be hard to remember what the summer sun feels like, much less imagine a summer Olympics a decade away -- but the suggestion has some city leaders looking toward the future.

By then, the city would have the Vikings stadium built and a renovated Target Center -- not to mention TCF Bank Stadium and the nearby Xcel Energy Center. There's light rail transit and the required 45,000 hotel rooms -- but the games also come with a $3 billion price tag for operating costs alone. That's three times the current state budget deficit, and it doesn't cover infrastructure and capital improvements.

What's more, the city would need an Olympic Village for the 16,500 athletes -- but even getting to that point, the city would need to bid. The last two American cities to apply -- New York and Chicago -- each spent more than $10 million on the proposal alone and were still eliminated early in the voting process.

At this point, a bid for 2024 is mostly just talk to get cities to explore the idea of submitting a bid. That means a lot of it would depend on the next mayor -- and mayoral candidate and City Councilman Gary Schiff said it's a non-starter for him.

"It's fun and games until you look at the bill," he said.

Schiff was a vocal opponent of the Vikings stadium, and he said both Beijing and London made it clear that Olympic events are now showcases of national pride. In fact, that's competing mayoral candidate and City Councilwoman Betsy Hodges says her curiosity is piqued.

"Any large event is a great way to showcase Minneapolis to the entire world," she said.

Hodges says she is intrigued by the idea but would want to run the numbers, adding that the games would need to be treated like a regional event, as the Republican National Convention was.

Costs are still a concern. The London Olympics cost $12 billion, and in the last 15 years, only the Beijing and Salt Lake City games actually turned a profit -- and the Salt Lake City games still put the city $155 million in debt.

If Minneapolis is seriously interested, the city would need to submit its bid sometime in 2015. A decision will be made in 2017.

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