The 2016 heat is on

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With the four 2016 Summer Olympic Games Candidate Cities due to submit their Candidature Files to the IOC by 12 February 2009, SportBusiness' Ultimate Sports Cities 2008 Report author Rachael Church–Sanders, assesses the contenders.

Chicago, USAThe jewel of Illinois, 'Windy City' Chicago finished in 14th position in the Ultimate Sports Cities 2006 Report but failed to make the cut for the 2008 version, losing out to American rival Los Angeles which was selected due to a hosting a larger volume of sports events. The tables were turned however when Chicago was selected over Los Angeles to represent the USA as an Applicant City for the 2016 Olympic Games. Chicago was placed third in the IOC's assessment of the Applicant Cities' technical bids. Visitors to the city cannot fail to be impressed by the city's wealth of resident professional sports teams and excellent sports facilities such as Soldier Field, US Cellular Field and Wrigley Field. The city's plan to host the Olympic Games around the stunning Lake Michigan shore area is a strength, as is its plan to build only five new venues and instead utilise a planned 11 temporary venues, lessening the potential of so–called 'white elephants'. A further boost may come from the new US president Barack Obama hailing from Chicago and firmly supporting bringing the Games to his home town. OutlookIndustry opinion is that Chicago is the hot favourite to host the 2016 Olympic Games because by the time of the event, the Games will not have been held in the Americas for exactly 20 years, despite the US being the largest contributor to the Olympic movement thanks to NBC's broadcast rights deal. But the US city should not rest on its laurels because history shows that the favourite does not always win. And at the time of writing, the US Olympic Committee was embroiled in a row over its slice of the Olympic revenues pie–an issue that may not endear the country to many voting members of the IOC. Madrid, SpainAccording to a poll, more than 90% of Spaniards want their capital city to host the 2016 Olympic Games. With strong public support being of great appeal to the IOC, Spanish sports passion, reignited by the national team's success in winning EURO 2008 and Rafael Nadal's tennis triumph at Wimbledon 2008, can only add momentum to the city's bid. Madrid finished ninth in the Ultimate Sports Cities 2008 Report, receiving its highest scores in transportation, accommodation and legacy. Madrid already has 85% of its proposed venues for 2016 in place and benefits from robust governmental support. Madrid was placed second in the IOC's assessment of the Applicant Cities' technical bids. OutlookA potential problem for Madrid is that no continent has hosted successive Summer Olympic Games since 1952, when Helsinki followed London as host city. Whilst Madrid is bound to have a psychological advantage after its 2012 experience, it may find it replaces the hapless city of Paris, France as 'always the bridesmaid and never the bride'. Madrid may regret not placing its Olympic ambitions on hold until the 2020 race when the Games are probably more likely to return to Europe. Rio de Janeiro, BrazilRio lost out to Brazilian rival city Sao Paulo in the shortlist for the Ultimate Sports Cities 2008 Report, but came 16th in the 2006 version. Rio came fourth in the IOC's assessment of the Applicant Cities' technical bids. A stunning contender in terms of natural beauty, Rio has benefited from hosting the Pan American Games in 2007 through learning invaluable lessons on how to stage a major sports event. Improvements to the city's transportation system since the Pan American Games will aid the city's cause, but security remains an issue. OutlookWhilst Brazil feels it is an advantage to be hosting the 2014 FIFA World Cup two years prior to the 2016 Olympics, a concern is that the financial strain may be too much for the country to bear. However, the IOC has shown it is keen to embrace developing nations after awarding the 2008 Games to China and as Rio ticks the right boxes for an American timezone, the city cannot be ruled out as potentially becoming the first city to bring the Olympics to South America. Tokyo, JapanJapan's capital city Tokyo ranked seventh in the Ultimate Sports Cities 2008 Report, an improvement of two places from the 2006 version. Tokyo received its highest scores in the categories of hosting experience and accommodation. The city topped the IOC's assessment of the Applicant Cities' technical bids. For its 2016 bid, Tokyo is claiming it will hold " the most compact and efficient Olympic Games ever" with a dramatic setting on the shores of Tokyo Bay. It is playing the green card, promising an environmentally–friendly event that will help pave the way "for a better world", and has public support on its side. The IOC is bound to be impressed by the fact that the Japanese will need to build only two or three permanent venues, choosing instead to refurbish many venues from its 1964 Summer Olympic Games. OutlookAttention to detail is a Japanese prerequisite for hosting major sports events and the city has got to fancy its chances in the 2016 race, particularly if it concentrates on making its city and public transportation more user–friendly for tourists. Unfortunately, Tokyo's bid might be affected by being voted upon only a year after the Beijing Games with a potential perception among IOC voting members that the Asia–Pacific has had its turn for a while. ConclusionWhilst Candidate Cities will of course be wise to compile their Candidature Files carefully and ensure visits by the IOC's Evaluation Committee go smoothly, cities need to recognise that some IOC voting members will not finalise their decisions regarding which city should host the 2016 Olympic Games until the actual day of the vote on 2 October 2009, following the cities' final presentations. Also, cities that may not be the favourite choice of one particular voting member, may benefit from being the second or even third choice following the elimination of cities with the least votes in each round of voting. In a race that is now harder to call than predicting the winner of the Eurovision Song Contest, one thing is for certain, the 2016 Olympic Games will be awarded to the city that plays the game the best – right up to the final whistle in Copenhagen this October. About the Report:The Ultimate Sports City 2008: Strategies For Successful Event Hosting is available from SportBusiness priced £795. Part 1 of the report provides an overview of what is involved in hosting a successful sports event through examining every element in the delivery chain as well as assessing the role of commercial partners, using case studies and primary research. This section also tips some future contenders for the title of Ultimate Sports City. Part 2 of this extensive report provides detailed case studies of the 25 leading sports event host cities globally and presents tangible lessons that can be learned by other potential host cities and event organisers. This report examines why these cities have been successful so far and how they can capitalise on their success in the future. Fantastic scenery, firm government support and excellent venues are only a part of the picture.... Buy this report to find out what can make a host city a sporting success how it garner a share of a multibillion pound industry and leave a lasting legacy for generations to come. For further details or to order a copy of The Ultimate Sports City 2008: Strategies For Successful Event Hosting, visit http://www. sportbusiness. com/reports/166633/ultimate–sports–cities–2008

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