Watch the video above: Toronto considering bid for 2024 Olympics. Jackson Proskow reports.
TORONTO – The city’s economic development committee will vote on a feasibility report next week on whether Toronto should approve a more detailed study on placing a bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympic Games.
The report, conducted by Ernst & Young, examined the preliminary costs and benefits of hosting one of the largest sporting and cultural events in the world.
Some of the key findings reveal the bidding process is estimated to cost $50 million to $60 million, while hosting the Games itself is estimated to cost $3.3 billion to $7 billion.
Toronto is set to host the Pan Am Games in 2015 and investments have already been made to build world-class facilities around the Greater Toronto Area.
However, the feasibility report mentions that those venues “may not be suitable for Olympic Games” as they were “not designed to Olympic standards and/or are too dispersed geographically.”
The International Olympic Committee requires most venues to be within 30 minutes to 45 minutes of the Olympic Village site.
The report says it’s also uncertain if hosting the Games will have any long-term economic benefits.
“The tourism data which we have reviewed indicated moderate increases in tourism after the Olympic Games; however, there is insufficient data to assert a correlation between these increases and the Olympic Games.”
Bob Richardson, an organizer involved in Toronto’s successful Pan Am games bid and failed 2008 Olympic bid, suggested that from a “city-building perspective” a successful Olympic bid could generate tourism, increased economic activity and infrastructure development.
But Richardson said councillors must ask whether hosting the Olympics aligns with the city’s priorities. If it does, he said, “you should pursue it and if it doesn’t, you shouldn’t.”
Toronto has already made two unsuccessful bids for the 1996 and 2008 Summer Games, with Atlanta and Beijing winning, respectively.
“We note that if Toronto does not bid for 2024 and the Summer Games are awarded to a U.S. city, it is likely that Toronto will not have a reasonable chance of winning until at least the 2036 Summer Games,” said the report.
But previous failures may put Toronto in an ideal position to finally host the games.
“I think it’s a matter of learning and luck. Most cities that compete for the Olympics lose two or three times, London has, Paris has, Beijing has, Sydney has,” he said.
The feasibility study also states that bidding for the Games is highly political, requiring “strong leadership, with intimate knowledge of the process” in order to win.
If the city’s economic development committee approves the report, a more detailed feasibility study will then cost about $1 million to complete.
Mayor Rob Ford rejected the idea of a possible bid for the 2020 Games back in 2011 due to financial concerns.
The committee will consider the feasibility report Monday Jan. 20 as well as look into a possible bid for the 2025 World Expo.
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