The bid group vying to land the 2016 Summer Games for Chicago has claimed that the event would generate 22.5 billion U.S. dollars in new economic activity in Illinois, a local news report said Friday.
Chicago is competing with Madrid, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo to host the 2016 Summer Games, with a decision due in October.
Chicago 2016 Chairman Pat Ryan said the rosy economic forecast is proof positive that the Summer Games would provide the shot-in-the-arm the Chicago area economy desperately needs, the Chicago Sun Times reported.
Ryan said an independent study done by Tootelian and Associates, a firm headed by California State University-Sacramento marketing professor Dennis H. Tootelian, predicts that the games with a budget of almost 4.7 billion U.S. dollars would generate 13.7 billion dollars in the city during the 11-year span between 2011 and 2021, including 7 billion dollars in spending by visitors.
The study cites improvements for past hosts, including a growth in international businesses in the Atlanta region and an increase in tourists in Athens and Barcelona.
But Jeffrey G. Owen, an economist and expert on the economic impact of sporting events, said no one has proved that the Olympics have any lasting economic pluses for cities, particularly in large ones such as Chicago that already hold an international reputation.
According to the Chicago Sun Time report, Chicago 2016 officials will unveil Chicago's final plan, which is due to be in the hands of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Feb. 20.
Chicago 2016 officials acknowledged that federal charges against Governor Blagojevich could complicate their efforts to get the Illinois General Assembly to deliver on the governor's unfulfilled promise of 150 million dollars by the first week in April, when an IOC evaluation committee arrives in Chicago. But they believe this will be addressed at the state level.
The Chicago Plan Commission approved the city's revised plan to build a 1.1 billion-dollar Olympic Village on the 37-acre campus of soon-to-be closed Michael Reese Hospital in the southern part of Chicago.