Rio vs. Chicago for 2016

olympics 2016 logos

Last week, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) officially announce that Rio de Janeiro, Brazil would host the 2016 Summer Olympics. This will be the first time that the Games will take place in South America, and it has been hailed as a tremendous achievement for Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Meanwhile, at the other end of the spectrum, there has been significant disappointment in the United States for Chicago’s failed bid to host 2016, which included the support of President Barack Obama.

I will be honest in that I didn’t follow this story very closely. I let my “U.S. bias” lead me to believe that Chicago was the likely favorite over Rio, Madrid and Tokyo.  However, along that line, Darren Rovell wrote an excellent post on how much additional revenue would be generated through media rights and sponsorships by hosting the games in Chicago.

With that said, my questions to all of you are:

  • What city did you except to be named as the 2016 host city and why?
  • What do you think hurt Chicago’s bid the most?
  • What do you except from Rio as the first South American host city?

This post is completely designed for all of you to provide the content through the comments below. Please share your thoughts and let’s get a nice dialogue going.

7 thoughts on “Rio vs. Chicago for 2016

  • October 7, 2009 at 10:21 am

    Russell – Here are my thoughts as someone who loves the Olympics, worked on two OCOGs, worked with the USOC and had plenty of friends involved in the bid…

    I was disappointed, but not surprised that Chicago was bounced in the first round. I wrote on my blog on Sept. 24 that I thought Chicago’s biggest risk was a first round upset and said the same when interviewed Oct. 1 on WLUP-FM in Chicago.

    The reality of it, to me, is this. As Americans, we expect the Olympics ever so often because we had them in 1980, 1984, 1996, and 2002. This is an anomaly. Prior to the 1984 Games, the last previous Olympic Summer Games in the US were in 1932 – 50+ years. We got 1984 because no other city really emerged as a candidate. Heck, Tehran was the last city to bow out.

    The US has hosted 8 Olympic Games (4 summer and 4 winter). No other country in the world has hosted more than 5 total (France w/2 summer and 3 winter) and that was the home country of the Olympics founder, Pierre de Coubertin.

    We live in a global society, much more so than 1996 when Atlanta had the Games. The IOC is right to place them in South America and it would be right to put them in Africa in the future.

    I think too many Americans believe hosting the Olympics every few years is our right. It is not. I would argue most Americans would rather go to a Final Four or a Super Bowl before going to an Olympics… unless those Olympics are in some exotic place like Rio or Madrid.

  • October 7, 2009 at 10:46 am

    Because of my new found unhealthy obsession with the Olympic bidding process – I thought Rio would be rewarded the games despite rooting for Chicago.

    Rio was the favorite largely because no South American country had ever hosted the games – while the other three countries have hosted the games, albeit in other cities (Tokyo hosted in 1964). Also, Rio’s bid was aided by a $14 billion investment promise from the Brazilian government, that is on top of all the money they are investing for the World Cup in 2014.

    I also want to add that I think Madrid put together a very strong proposal, they had over 70% of their facilities already built and the Spanish showed the IOC in 92′ that they can be great hosts to the Games (see Barcelona). I happened to be in Madrid during the announcement and the people I ran into were visibly upset that they lost – they apparently had an over 90% approval rating from their own citizens to host the Games. Too bad the IOC is reluctant to reward the Games to the same continent two Games in a row (I know it happened in the 50s).

    As for why Chicago lost… I think it had to do more with the USOC than the Chicago bid. There was instability at the leadership level at the USOC (acting CEO stepped down today) and the proposed TV deal that the USOC made with Comcast really upset IOC executives. Combine those reasons with the political nature of the voting process, and how apparently the USOC didn’t build a voting block for the first round – such as the other bids did – made for a perfect storm to kick Chicago out of the running. That said, I do believe that if Chicago made it out of the first round, that they would have made it to the final round to face off with Rio.

    With Rio being awarded the Games, I hope it serves as a catalyst for the government to start cracking down on crime and getting their infrastructure in order. I read in an AP piece recently that said nearly 90% of homicides in Rio go unsolved – that will clearly need to change prior to the Games. Having the World Cup in Brazil two years before the Games will hopefully help Rio organize their resources and finalize their priorities.

  • October 7, 2009 at 10:50 am

    Closer it got, could see it was going to Rio. The “first SA Olympics” anthem/cry combined with Chicago’s clear unfocus (the buzz should have been what a great top notch bid strategy Chicago had vs. was or wasn’t Obama coming and could Michelle pull the weight if he didn’t. Yes surprised to see them go out 1st, but reviewing it now maybe not so much.
    As a resident in Chicago, it’s obvious that The “Chicago Bid Committee” hurt the bid the most:
    -Changes in top mgmt at such a late date, Mayor Dick Daley as one of your lead face guys(you kidding me).
    -The clear lack of the committee to get the City behind it – and seeming not to really care at all (those ridiculous CTA ads from Olympic no-names are you kidding me. Idea was bad from the start, but at least get Phelps, Jordan, Shuan White, somebody relevant to do them).
    -Focus seemed to be on sizzle and zero substance. seemed they were in it for media vs. getting the job done & done right.
    -Local media was commenting all along how bad the marketing materials were (from logo to presentation videos). Was anyone with a true marketing background involved in the Chicago Bid Committee? Next time hire away a top Nike marketing exec or hell just bring in Nike and W+K to handle the entire bid for us.
    -You could tell from the comments by others, everyone thought we were just coming in way to popmus.
    At this point hard to say how Rio will do, honestly haven’t reviewed their proposal (financial, facilities, logistics) – but have to assume they will pull it off. After-all they must have been the best option since the neutral business-minded IOC members voted them King of the Olympic Hill right?

  • October 8, 2009 at 1:33 am

    I love Chicago and know that they would have been a great host, as my town Sydney was.
    That said, I think it was always going to be Rio. They were the first credible bid from South America, and I believe the IOC was going to jump on whoever it was.
    The parallel is, of course, awarding the FIFA World Cup to South Africa. With such a huge soccer fan and player base across the continent, having a credible host bid was something they were clearly waiting for.
    The issue for both Brazil and South Africa is whether they can get the management, marketing, sponsorship, and infrastructure to live up to the opportunity it presents.
    My bet is that there will be many dramatic moments before the Olympic Torch is ever lit.

  • October 8, 2009 at 2:49 am

    I follow a lot of American sports business people on Twitter and it has been interesting to watch their reactions to the decision. They range from complete indifference to utter shock.

    I take for granted that many in the US, despite being connected to the wider world via mediums like twitter still live in a bubble. The most interesting arguments I saw were the ones about sponsorship and TV rights and money. How could the Olympic movement turn down American money?

    The Olympics isn’t really about money, though it is big business. The Olympics is as much about the cross-pollination of culture and customs through sport – and the USA doesn’t really need any help with its cultural exports.

    There are 192 member states of the UN. Some are clearly not able to find the cash to stage an event like the Olympics, but others certainly are. Just as F1 and sailing are slowly skewing their global calendars towards the middle east, south america and asia, so too, will the Olympics need to move with the emerging global nations.

    Rio is an unsurprising natural choice.

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