Jump to content

The Olympics in Houston? Could it work?


ClutchCity

Recommended Posts

http://www.bizjournals.com/houston/news/2013/02/20/houston-invited-to-join-2024-olympic.html

 

Here's an article that explains how Houston could make a bid to host the 2024 Olympic Games. It would do a great job of catapulting Houston into the global spotlight but I don't see how Houston could pull this off effectively. It would definetly spur a bunch of development preceding the games, but afterwards I feel like they would just be left to rot. What's your take?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The article said that 35 US cities are being considered, so I would put this in the extremely doubtful category...

I do think that Houston could pretty easily pull it off. Most of the facilities already exist and Reliant Park could be enhanced to serve as a central venue. The problem is that most of the existing venues would be about 20 yrs old at that point which is not a great selling point.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Houston is already in the spotlight.

 

Nationally, and internationally, probably not to the level that the Olympic games would bring. 

 

Imagine the craziness that was traffic this last weekend, but expanded over 17 days. That doesn't include games that are played for the Olympics outside of the 'normal' 17 days, or the media circus that would be here days/weeks in advance of the games, and all the support staff for that.

 

Personally, I'd probably take a vacation to get away from town during the Olympics, if Houston ever hosted.

 

I think Houston is at a HUGE disadvantage before anyone even considers hospitality, available venues, etc. Looking at a list of cities in recent history that have hosted the olympics, LA in 84 is the only one that I can see that I don't think had an EXTENSIVE network of subway/rail/trolly at the time of hosting.

 

After being a casual observer of the freeways from this past weekend, our city would not be able to handle it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think Houston is at a HUGE disadvantage before anyone even considers hospitality, available venues, etc. Looking at a list of cities in recent history that have hosted the olympics, LA in 84 is the only one that I can see that I don't think had an EXTENSIVE network of subway/rail/trolly at the time of hosting.

Actually if all the planned light rail lines get built Houston would be pretty close to the amount of rail that Atlanta had for the Olympics and a fair amount of that was constructed for the Olympics. The obvious difference is that MARTA isn't LRT.

I've changed my mind about this, btw.

Houston needs to go all out on this, because we cannot allow Dallas to get the Olympics.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Actually if all the planned light rail lines get built Houston would be pretty close to the amount of rail that Atlanta had for the Olympics and a fair amount of that was constructed for the Olympics.

Houston needs to go all out on this, because we cannot allow Dallas to get the Olympics.

I definitely think the Uptown and University Line would get as well as connecting lines to Hobby and IAH which is really needed, but is probably a long time coming otherwise.

It'd also showcase UH and Rice's campus' as we would probably use their tracks and other facilities.

After you mentioned Dallas I agree we have to put in an honest effort and we're better than Atlanta so why not have an Olympics here if they've had it before.

Edited by ClutchCity
Link to comment
Share on other sites

While I think we could pull it off logistically (if Atlanta could, we certainly can), I think it's a bad idea unless they let us do it in the spring or the fall.  Otherwise we'll just have thousands of journalists from all over the world writing how miserable our summers are.  I have a hard time inflicting that on the athletes, too.  If the U.S. puts forth a bid city, it will be one of the big 5: LA, SF, Chicago, NYC, or DC.  And I'd say SF and NYC are the top contenders.  In addition, a *lot* of local money will be required, and there is a serious opportunity cost for that.  That money could go into all sorts of local projects with much better long-term value.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

World class athletes are not as affected by our weather as you may think. Many of the events would be held indoors, and are thus completely unaffected by the weather. If the Astrodome were converted to a track and field venue, the upwards of 90% of the events would be climate controlled. Further, most outdoor events would be scheduled to miss the hottest weather. Early morning and evenings would be common. Admittedly, obese sportswriters would be sweating their way from the buffet to their taxi, and would likely complain, but we've made it this far with people complaining about our climate. We could survive the Olympics, too.

 

It is also not required that the Olympics be held during July and August. The 1956 Games in Melbourne were held in late November. Both the Tokyo and Mexico City Games were held in late October. Seoul and Sydney were held in late September. Late September in Houston is warm, but tolerable. Early October is ideal, with average highs between 83 and 86 degrees.

 

As for "opportunity costs", the money put into infrastructure is usually money that would not have been spent but for the Olympics, or it is spent on accelerated schedules for already needed infrastructure. And, the cost of free publicity for the city is nearly incalculable. And, many of the sports venues can be used later for additional events, such as regional and national track, cycling and other sports, which brings tourist revenue to the city. However, there is a limit to the worthiness of such an expense. The Olympics has been butting up against that ceiling for years.

 

I'd take a wait and see approach to this. If a bid can be produced at a reasonable cost, it may be worth pursuing. An overpriced bid submitted to massage our ego is not.

Edited by RedScare
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would hate to have the Olympics in Houston.  Olympics inevitably go way over budget, leave the city in debt and saddled with unneeded facilities.  Yes, it brings a brief shot of attention, but I would be stunned if there were any connection to long-term economic growth.  No matter how much events are air-conditioned, writers will still complain about Houston as a bug-infested swamp.  On top of all of this, the IOC has recently tended to favor "alpha" cities for the Olympics, since apparently they were not thrilled about Atlanta. 

 

I honestly don't see any value in Houston trying to bid.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here's the Chronicle story.  Chicago has announced that it wisely is not getting sucked in again.  They invited 35 cities to bid!  Including Rochester, Tulsa, and Columbus.  Really?

 

"It's down to Tulsa vs. Paris at the IOC... decision any moment... Tulsa wins!!!"

 

 

Edited by ToryGattis
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here's the Chronicle story.  Chicago has announced that it wisely is not getting sucked in again.  They invited 35 cities to bid!  Including Rochester, Tulsa, and Columbus.  Really?

 

"It's down to Tulsa vs. Paris at the IOC... decision any moment... Tulsa wins!!!"

 

Thought you were joking, but here's the link: http://www.13wham.com/mediacenter/local.aspx?videoid=3950195http://www.13wham.com/mediacenter/local.aspx?videoid=3950195

 

As an ex-Rochesterian, I'm proud to say that the Special Olympics has been hosted in the region, with great success. Let some other city enjoy the spotlight.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Whoever ends up as the nominated city from the US has an excellent shot at winning since it will have been 28 years since the US hosted the summer games. Most of the major regions of the world have been covered in the intervening time.

 

Except Africa.  Since they've hosted the World Cup, look for South Africa to have a leg up.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Rochester would be a great location but unless the city went on a big-time building spree, events would have to spread from Buffalo to Syracuse.

 

Rochester has beautiful summer weather. It sits just South of Lake Ontario (sailing events). It's loaded with canals and rivers (canoe/kayak and rowing events). Nearby are the Finger Lakes for other events. I suppose a ton of the local colleges could host events (U of Rochester, RIT, Nazareth, Roberts Wesleyan, St John Fisher, Hobart and William Smith, SUNY Brockport, SUNY Geneseo, Keuka, etc...)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here's the Chronicle story.  Chicago has announced that it wisely is not getting sucked in again.  They invited 35 cities to bid!  Including Rochester, Tulsa, and Columbus.  Really?

 

"It's down to Tulsa vs. Paris at the IOC... decision any moment... Tulsa wins!!!"

 

You have to wonder about an organization that includes cities such as Rochester (15,000 rooms), Tulsa (13,000 rooms) and Columbus (25,000 rooms) on a list of potential hosts for an event, one of the basic requirements of which is 45,000 hotel rooms.  WTF?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You have to wonder about an organization that includes cities such as Rochester (15,000 rooms), Tulsa (13,000 rooms) and Columbus (25,000 rooms) on a list of potential hosts for an event, one of the basic requirements of which is 45,000 hotel rooms.  WTF?

 

I agree.  Makes you wonder.  I guess they're assuming some serious construction over the next decade?  Maybe that some local college campuses would make a major investment in dorm space that could be used?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree. Makes you wonder. I guess they're assuming some serious construction over the next decade? Maybe that some local college campuses would make a major investment in dorm space that could be used?

Tulsa put together a bid for the 2020 games as well. They leaned pretty heavily on resources from OKC as well.

http://www.tulsaworld.com/webextra/content/items/tulsa2020.PDF

Link to comment
Share on other sites

From Tulsa's 2020 bid it seems as if cultural attractiveness is a pretty key part of setting the cities apart from another. With the recent publicity that Houston has gotten for its cultural diversity and the like we seem to have a much better chance of getting it then Dallas. Which is all that matters.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tulsa put together a bid for the 2020 games as well. They leaned pretty heavily on resources from OKC as well.

http://www.tulsaworld.com/webextra/content/items/tulsa2020.PDF

 

Very interesting presentation.  Thanks for passing along.  Still a big stretch, even looping in OKC.  Relying on shallow draft cruise ships to come up the river? Really?  Native American theme is an interesting angle.  I think they over-rely on the Atlanta benchmark though, which is problematic in that the Olympics have moved far beyond the level of 1996 Atlanta (see Beijing and London), and also because everything I've read says that they were disappointed with the Olympic experience in Atlanta.  Clearing the Atlanta hurdle is no longer sufficient.

 

Geographic and cultural/racial fairness seems to be a big driver for the IOC, which explains why everybody says South Africa is a lock in the next couple of decades.  I could see Dubai making the same argument for the Middle East.  If North America is due for a rotation, I see San Francisco and Toronto being the leading contenders, and they both set a seriously high bar.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't think Tulsa ever realistically thought that they would get the games, but they saw it as an opportunity to generate a lot of news coverage that they would not otherwise receive that would generally raise the profile of the city. It would be interesting to see if they have been able to leverage this into any measurable business opportunities.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...

anyone know why Houston never really pursued this for 2024? it would of been a huge opportunity to boost Houston to (even higher) international status, and show off all the progress weve made since we were last big on an international level (the 80s).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

anyone know why Houston never really pursued this for 2024? it would of been a huge opportunity to boost Houston to (even higher) international status, and show off all the progress weve made since we were last big on an international level (the 80s).

 

A burst of common sense is my guess.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

A burst of common sense is my guess.

Heh, I see you never cared for the idea of a Houston Olympics. You don't thing NRG Park could be turned into a successful mixed use "Olympic Park" after the games are over?

I think we are better suited to host the games than Dallas, who made it decently far in the bid selections.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Heh, I see you never cared for the idea of a Houston Olympics. You don't thing NRG Park could be turned into a successful mixed use "Olympic Park" after the games are over?

I think we are better suited to host the games than Dallas, who made it decently far in the bid selections.

 

Ya know, Houston made it to the final 4 US cities in the competition for the 2012 bid; a good deal further in the selection process than Dallas has ever gotten.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Were you guys upset that Houston landed the 2017 Super Bowl?

 

To the extent that it diverts public funds that might be used for other purposes, yes  

 

 

I'm convinced that the long-term PR value of hosting Olympics, Super Bowls or World Cups* is nil.  Absolutely nil.  They are almost always predicated on building stadiums and the like that would never make economic sense on their own. 

 

I don't think that NRG Park could be turned into a successful mixed-use Olympic Park afterwards, especially in light of the fact that after 15 years nobody has been able to figure out an economic re-use for the Astrodome.  

 

 

* Someone might want to prove the point by taking a poll of Brazilian taxpayers today.   :P

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Fact is, none of these huge events really bring in publicity and fame, not a lot of money or a seat at the "cool cities" table. Atlanta tended to luck out in that respect, but these types of things are hit or miss. Super Bowls particularly don't seem to turn a city's success around: Super Bowl XL sure did wonders for Detroit didn't it?  :P

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

the NFL sets up their own little area for the foolsball fans to go to- the rest of the city doesn't benefit.

 

I know many friends in New orleans who were disappointed about the lack of business in their areas during their SB (last year? The year before? I don't remember)

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Houston is about 20 years away from even making a decent shot at the Olympics. Just to much missing to really make it all work. It is on the right track certainly, but that is a pretty lofty goal. Although I will say that sometimes pushing to stage events like these have created incredible infrastructure, facilities, and buildings in cities that have hosted. I'm not even just talking about the olympics, but I think it would be cool if Houston were to host a world expo or world's fair. That is a much more powerful event. Of course the actual buildings for the Olympics do have a rep of not being much afterwards, but it's the building that leads up to the event that sometimes sparks some nice developments.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

 

the actual buildings for the Olympics do have a rep of not being much afterwards, but it's the building that leads up to the event that sometimes sparks some nice developments.

 

I'm confused as to what this means.  The building sparks nice developments, but the actual buildings aren't much afterwards?  

 

 

No more than the Olympics would I really care for a world's fair in Houston.  

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Houston made a great effort for the 2012 Games.  London won.  That was before your time Luminare, you should take a look at all the literature Houston put out in anticipation for that, Kirksy had an Olympic Village (that looked bad - but was functional) based at UH.  The post-Games aftermath would have left Houston transit, additional dormitories for the existing colleges, and lots of event space, but very little in the way of brand new stadiums/sports venues would have been needed.  Houston actually had the most complete bid of any of those cities that went after the Olympics.  I think the US Olympic committee was just nervous about getting another Sun Belt city an Olympic games.

 

Houston is not 20 years away from being able to host the games.  If anything the Olympic Games would be a huge benefit to us - as it would demand transit projects + a boom in construction for hotels/event spaces etc.  Look what it did for Atlanta!  They had Marta, but a much less developed freeway system, we're far behind in terms of rail transit, but as mentioned before Marta is not the "end all, be all" as far as transit systems go.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

the NFL sets up their own little area for the foolsball fans to go to- the rest of the city doesn't benefit.

 

I know many friends in New orleans who were disappointed about the lack of business in their areas during their SB (last year? The year before? I don't remember)

 

In 04 when we had the SB if you weren't at Memorial City Mall, the Galleria, in Downtown, or around the stadium, you'd have had no idea there was a superbowl, other than bars that should never charge cover had people at the door asking for cover.

 

There was plenty available for people who lived here to take advantage of, the NFL experience was actually really kind of cool and I'll go to that again for sure, I'm sure that any host city would be exactly the same, life goes on, maybe a bit more traffic, but if you don't look for it, you won't see it.

 

The olympics would be a whole nother thing, at least as far as traffic is concerned. 

 

I wonder if Houston has a better shot now that we're all over top whatever lists, and I wonder if people are even going to try. I still would not be a fan of it though.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Due to Houston's weather I find it difficult to believe it can win a summer Olympics.

 

High's were in the 90's during the Atlanta games in '96.  Some of the events are indoor anyway and we'd probably get around the heat by adding additional indoor venues.  Main thing I would worry about, though, would be a hurricane putting the damper on things.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Houston is not 20 years away from being able to host the games.  If anything the Olympic Games would be a huge benefit to us - as it would demand transit projects + a boom in construction for hotels/event spaces etc.  Look what it did for Atlanta!  They had Marta, but a much less developed freeway system, we're far behind in terms of rail transit, but as mentioned before Marta is not the "end all, be all" as far as transit systems go.

 

I don't recall much in the way of freeway expansion for the Atlanta olympics other than the introduction of hov lanes and maybe the openning of Georgia 400, though I don't know that that was directly related to the games.  In terms of freeways, I've always thought the Houston has a much better road system than Atlanta, both freeways and surface streets.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It was hot in Greece too.  The "summer" games were pushed to September for the Sydney Olympics, and Beijing has so horrible air quality that the officials scrambled trying to reduce the air pollution.  Oh, there is a current World Cup taking place in the tropical rain forests of Brazil.  Hot is hot anywhere.  The idea that Houston's heat is unbearable is overblown.

 

And my post about Houston not being 20 years away from being able to host the Olympics was meant to indicate that indeed Houston has a better road and freeway system.  It is simply our rail transit system that is behind.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I see both sides. It would be a huge waste of resources and tax payer money to build the necessary infrastructure and sporting even complexes. It could, however, shed light on the positives of this city that we all see, and really bring Houston up to a stage of the world. Game Changer, World Class, World City, International City, it would certain bring that jen e sais quoi.

 

2004's Super Bowl shed a lot of positive light on the city, even though it was overcast and unpleasant weather, and nothing could outshine Janet Jackson's performance.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I see both sides. It would be a huge waste of resources and tax payer money to build the necessary infrastructure and sporting even complexes. It could, however, shed light on the positives of this city that we all see, and really bring Houston up to a stage of the world. Game Changer, World Class, World City, International City, it would certain bring that jen e sais quoi.

2004's Super Bowl shed a lot of positive light on the city, even though it was overcast and unpleasant weather, and nothing could outshine Janet Jackson's performance.

The thing is.. I don't think we would need to build much additional infrastructure/sporting complexes to host the Olympics. At least not as much as what most people build for the Olympics. We could just revamp NRG park into an Olympic HQ mixed use destination with residential, hotels, and the Olympic village (which could be converted to offices after the games), all surrounding a large central park and multiple Olympic venues.. NRG Stadium, the Astrodome, and NRG Arena could all be used for events. Heck, even the track complex by the practice field could be used for track & field events if need be. Or they could even have track & field events inside the NRG Hall/convention center thing, to really put all the on site venues to use.

Of course there is also the Rice University sports venues just up the rail line, along with Minute Maid Park, BBVA Compass Stadium, and the sports venues at UofH, all connected by light rail too.

Between NRG stadium, arena, hall, astrodome, and MMP, I think we have enough indoor venues. Heck, the World Cup stadium in Manaus(?)/in the middle of the rain forest wasn't even enclosed.

Agreed, with all of your "positives" of the games. I think it would be worthwhile given that we already have much of the initial investments in place.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

all the money we'd save on building venues we'd have to pay to build up our severe lack of public transportation.

 

It might not be that bad.  The core rail system is about to come online and that will connect all the major venues.  Maybe it would kick-start the university line. Uptown BRT would already be in place.  We've got a good park and ride system with multiple stations around town.  That could be ramped up with extra buses.  We've got HOV lanes in every direction already or in the works.  Those could be limited to bus traffic during the games.  We've got experiece in spades with busing people in and out during the rodeo.  I can tell you from experience that we're better positioned now, transportation-wise, than Atlanta was at the start of the games in '96.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That could be ramped up with extra buses.

Well, you've just shown light on one problem: when an influx of people come in like for the Olympics, it will start to degrade the quality of the rest of the city, and people won't be happy if bus routes are cancelled, rerouted, or get cut schedules. Those that can afford it will try to get out of town.

Edited by IronTiger
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, you've just shown light on one problem: when an influx of people come in like for the Olympics, it will start to degrade the quality of the rest of the city, and people won't be happy if bus routes are cancelled, rerouted, or get cut schedules. Those that can afford it will try to get out of town.

 

Yes.  There's no getting around the negative aspects of a big event like this.  Remember this from the nba all-star game back in 2013?

 

gallstarrUSEEDEE.jpg

 

That's the Galleria, for those of you who missed the fun.  Still, I think we could pull it off, logistic-wise, but yeah...there would be some inconveniences to local residents even out in the 'burbs.  On the flip side, you could rent out your house/apartment/condo during the time for enough to take a nice vacation somewhere else.  Worth considering.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...