Business leaders want 2016 games

Although questions remain about whether San Francisco can provide all of the key venues necessary to host the Summer Olympics in 2016, a significant number of the Bay Area’s top business leaders say city leaders should work to bring the international games to the region, according to poll results released Thursday.

Eighty-five percent of Bay Area CEOs and top executives said they believed government and civic leaders should actively pursue a bid to bring the games to the area, according to a survey of 508 company chiefs by the Bay Area Council.

The City, along with Chicago and Los Angeles, is on the short list of contenders to be the nation’s choice to compete internationally for the chance to host the Olympics.

If San Francisco is selected to host the games for the United States, it would give the region priority for federal infrastructure dollars and accelerate redevelopment projects, said Bay Area Council President Jim Wunderman. During the 17-day event, $7 billion of economic activity would be brought to the region, as well as international attention from the 4 billion viewers worldwide who would tune in to the Olympics, he said.

Last month, after a meeting with U.S. Olympic officials, Mayor Gavin Newsom pragmatically noted that the region doesn’t have 17 percent of the venues needed to host the sporting event — including a stadium in San Francisco large enough to hold the event’s prestigious opening and closing ceremonies.

Other cities worldwide that have expressed interest in hosting the 2016 Olympics include Rome and Milan in Italy; Madrid, Spain; Hamburg, Germany; Tokyo; and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Currently, the San Francisco 2016 bid team is working on completing a technical questionnaire from the U.S. Olympic Committee that’s due in two weeks. It covers The City's sporting venues, transportation network, accommodations and fundraising ability, among other specifics.

By March, The City must prove its financial mettle to Olympic officials by having $20 million in an escrow account.

beslinger@examiner.com

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