What will you be doing around this time in 12 years?
Heading to the ballpark to see the 2020 version of the Phitin’ Phils?
Gearing up for the big 2020 presidential election?
Maybe getting ready for the 2020 Summer Olympics – in Philadelphia.
Philadelphia’s unsuccessful bid to host the 2016 Olympics should serve as a valuable lesson for future attempts. As the country prepares to turn our focus to Beijing on 08-08-08, it is interesting the think about the entire world watching one of the greatest spectacles in sports right here in the City of Brotherly Love.
I can see it now. The lights turn off at Lincoln Financial Field as the fireworks illuminate the humid August night in Philadelphia. The crowd at the opening ceremony roars as mummers strut onto the field performing their legendary act for the international crowd seeking a taste of Philadelphia culture. Maybe Sylvester Stallone, fresh off of filming Rocky VIII at age 74, will run up the steps in the 700 level… I mean upper deck (it’s amazing how much less fun it is to say upper deck)… a do the standard Rocky jump as he before the Eagles’ inaugural game at the Linc.
I can see it now. The world will be watching; will someone screw it up? Well, it’s the summer games so nobody can find a snowball to throw at Santa. Yes, that’s right, the national media will never let that go (or report the real story of those events). The statute of limitations will somehow never expire on that story. Batteries! Oh wait, JD Drew won’t be there unless he learns to hurdle or master the uneven bars in his post baseball life. I think we’re safe!
In fact, Philadelphia would have a lot to offer spectators, visitors, and television viewers. Think of a 1776 theme. Independence Hall, Carpenters Hall, Betsy Ross’ house, the National Constitution Center, etc. At night there is Old City, Northern Liberties, Center City, South Street, Manayunk.
The real question involves the feasibility of hosting the Olympics in the city. Can it be done? Yes. Philadelphia hosted the Republican National Convention successfully in 2000. On fairly short notice, even the Street Administration managed to not mess up Live 8. Now, Philadelphia can take it to the next level – the Olympics.
Philadelphia has plenty of venues to host each event. Some of the venues listed would be better suited as practice facilities for athletes and teams with off days.
Lincoln Financial Field
Citizens Bank Park
Wachovia Spectrum (assuming it’s not demolished as part of the Philly Live project)
Franklin Field (Home of the Penn Relays and a perfect place for track and field events)
Villanova University’s athletic fields and buildings
Saint Joseph’s newly renovated Michael J. Hagan Arena
Tom Gola Arena (La Salle)
The DAC (Drexel)
The Liacouras Center (Temple)
Campbell’s Field (Camden Riversharks)
Frawley Stadium (Wilmington Blue Rocks)
Schuylkill River / Boat House Row and Cooper River for rowing events
Philadelphia’s biggest obstacle may be hotel rooms. However, by 2020, between Philadelphia and the suburbs in PA, NJ, and DE, it is hard to believe that enough hotel rooms would not be available. Remember, Atlanta (one third of the population of Philadelphia) hosted the 1996 Olympics.
Why would we want the hassle of having to host the Olympics? There would be congestion and traffic during the games and construction leading up to the opening ceremonies. Aside from the international attention, think about how tourism will increase with the good (fingers crossed) publicity the city would receive in the years following 2020. Think about how many jobs would be created to pull off such a big event. There would job creation in construction, hotels, restaurants, security. There would likely be overtime opportunities for Philadelphia Police Officers and SEPTA employees. Any time you can put more money in the pockets of local residents who will spend it at local shops sounds like a good idea.
Experience – – – Check.
Venues – – – Check.
Hotels – – – (Feasible)
Incentive – – – CHECK!
Hopefully Mayor Nutter can put his weight behind the initiative and make a genuine push for Philly 2020.