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TEXT OF INTERVIEW
MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: L.A. Chicago. Which city would be a better venue for the 2016 Olympics? The U.S. Olympic Committee’s Board of Directors will have to make that choice on Saturday in Washington. David Carter is the executive director of the USC Sports Business Institute. He says the USOC will try to determine which city will have the best chance to eventually beat out other cities like Prague, Rome or Tokyo which are also competing for the games. I asked him about the strengths and weaknesses of L.A.
DAVID CARTER: Well, I think the benefits of Los Angeles include the fact that they have to build very few venues and with that comes very limited financial risk. And I think at this time when you’ve seen cost overruns associated with other Olympic Games, that’s really very important. I also think you have a strong showing from the entertainment community. Obviously the Walt Disney Company’s been very involved in promoting Los Angeles and even the governor, Schwarzenegger has been very supportive of our bid. But you know Los Angeles has had the Game a couple of times, some view Los Angeles as a difficult place to navigate trafficwise, so . . .
THOMAS: I don’t know why they would think that.
CARTER: I’m not sure either, but you’re an Illinois guy so I can imagine why you would be bashing Los Angeles.
THOMAS: That’s true I am from Chicago. So what are some of the strengths and weaknesses of Chicago?
CARTER: I think Chicago delivers the better chance for the so-called Olympic legacy, the chance for the building of some landmark venues. And in Chicago the USOC has one of the greatest sports cities in this country. It’s a city that’s going to invest to get the Games for the very first time. And so I think it’s going to be a very challenging selection on Saturday, but whoever survives that will then be put forth for the ultimate selection, which as you know is not going to occur until October of 2009.
THOMAS: Obviously both these cities are looking to get a lot of revenue from the Olympics. How much money can that bring to a city?
CARTER: The estimates vary widely and I think it really boils down to just how strongly can the organizing committee in that city deliver on time and on budget. And if you do that, you have a real chance to succeed. Los Angeles, just to give you an idea though of what can happen if things do go according to plan, now they’re estimating an economic impact for the 2016 Games to be about $7 billion. So it makes for both these cities to be working so diligently to secure these Games.
THOMAS: That really is Olympic gold. We’ve talked about all the good things that can happen, can come to the city if they win. What are some of the bad things that can happen?
CARTER: Well we talked already about the cost overruns and construction delays, but I think beyond that the primary concerns really revolve around safety and security and again, the incremental expenses that come with those.
THOMAS: David Carter is the executive director of the USC Sports Business Institute. And in Los Angeles, I’m Mark Austin Thomas. Thanks for joining us. Have a great day.
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