LOS ANGELES (AP) — A U.S. Olympic Committee delegation is taking quick trips to more than a half-dozen cities that have expressed interest in hosting the 2024 Games — including Boston, Dallas, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington, two people with knowledge of the fact-finding trips told The Associated Press.
The people told AP that the delegation consists of the USOC’s chief bid and protocol officer, Chris Sullivan, chief communications and public affairs officer Patrick Sandusky and Doug Arnot, who most recently served as director of games operations for the London Olympics.
The people asked to remain anonymous because the USOC is not publicizing the trips, which have been taking place this fall.
The federation has until the end of next year to decide whether it wants to bid. The 2024 host will be selected in 2017.
CEO Scott Blackmun and chairman Larry Probst have often acknowledged that hosting the Olympics is one of the best things a federation can do but have stopped short of committing to a 2024 bid.
The USOC, which brings more money than anyone to the Olympic movement in the form of sponsorship and TV revenue, hasn’t hosted an Olympics since the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City. The country’s last Summer Olympics were in Atlanta in 1996.
Earlier this year, the USOC sent letters to about three dozen cities to gauge interest in hosting an Olympics. There were more than a half-dozen that gave an early “yes,” and the USOC delegation has been spending a day or less in each city visiting with their representatives.
The USOC’s fact-finding method is almost the polar opposite of what it did when it was vetting potential bidders for the 2016 Games. That was a very public, very expensive and, at times, embarrassing process. For instance, the night before San Francisco was scheduled to give a key presentation to the USOC, a stadium deal for the Bay Area fell through and the city’s representatives quietly left the meeting without giving their pitch.
And, of course, the ultimate “winner” — Chicago — ended up spending $10 million to be named America’s candidate, then got ousted from the final stage of the IOC bid process in the first round.
Chicago officials have said they don’t want to try again, even though many cities that win Olympic bids, including 2016 host Rio de Janeiro, earn the nod after losing several times previously.