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‘I think it’s a real possibility’: AOC President eyeballs 2032 Brisbane Olympics bid

International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach has ventured down under to scope out Brisbane as a potential host city for the 2032 Olympic games and Australian Olympic Committee President John Coates says the River City makes a “compelling argument”.

“These days the Olympic Games have to be held in July / August, so that really rules out Sydney and Melbourne,” Coates tells David Morrow and Julian King on Macquarie Sports Radio.

“A few years ago, the AOC gave the nod for a feasibility study to be done in Queensland by the councils of South East Queensland and they’ve concluded a very thorough study which gives a compelling argument for hosting the games but only if the infrastructure from the Sunshine Coast, through Brisbane, down to the Gold Coast, is drastically improved.”

“If they can fix that, if they can get the federal government to come in, there is a compelling argument.”

Mr Bach is set to meet with Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk this week to flesh the matter out further and Mr Coates is quietly optimistic about the outcome.

“There’s not a lot of competition out there for the 2032 Olympics at this stage, I think it’s a possibility, a real possibility.” he said.

Whichever way you cut it, the cost of putting on the Summer Olympics is hideously expensive and recent games have proven there is zero guarantee of a return on investment.

The 2016 Rio Olympics cost at least $13.1 billion US dollars, the 2012 London games $10.4 billion, and the 2008 Beijing Olympics set the Chinese government back a whopping $44 billion. Not that the 2000 Sydney Olympics were cheap either – we reached into our pockets and pulled out $6,600,000,000.

Governments rightly ask a simple question: is it worth it? In Rio, as is also the case for 2014 Winter Games host city Sochi in Russia, venues built for the Olympics are now white elephants, dilapidated and decayed, a symbol of grandiose spending on infrastructure that has public utility once the games pack up and leave.

Mr Coates says the IOC’s attitudes have changed.

“No longer does the IOC want to see new venues, they want to see existing venues, temporary venues, adapted venues.

“By 2032, Brisbane and the other cities here, with some further growth in community venues that can be adapted, will be able to host the games without having to build any new venues.

“In terms of the operating costs of the games, the IOC puts on the table $1.8 billion dollars US, on top of that the host city gets the national sponsorship and the ticketing sales.

“On that basis, the games would be cost neutral.”

“The Olympic movement doesn’t want to leave white elephants, it wants to be part of a society, a communities natural growth and the community has to know that there’s a legacy from it, not a legacy for the IOC.

Like any major international sporting event, the Olympics are influenced by its biggest – or most profitable – market. For the Olympics it’s the United States, and while Australia’s timezone doesn’t pose too big a problem, avoiding a clash with American summer school holidays is paramount for the games to turn a profit.

“One of the factors in the IOC settling on July / August was not just weather and things like that, but the fact that September / October is school holidays in America, and America did not do well out of the Sydney games for that reason.” Mr Coates said.

“Like it or not, 40% of the IOC’s revenue is from NBC.

“That’s the other assuredness to let the IOC say ‘well, we’re putting $1.8 billion into the games in LA in 2028, we can commit to at least that amount of money because the NBC contract is written until at least 2032’.

Click PLAY to hear more from the Australian Olympic President, John Coates: