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My 2 Cents on the Vote...

The first round of voting is incredibly dangerous for Chicago.  The lowest vote getter of the four cities will be bounced.  If you look at the race from a purely geo-political perspective Tokyo, Rio and Madrid each have many more naturally aligned voters.  That means a city like Chicago – widely perceived to be a front-runner – could “accidentally” get eliminated early.

At it’s heart this is a two city race between Rio and Chicago.  Rio’s bid team is seductive and well-liked.  Chicago’s is trusted and solid.   If IOC members vote with their hearts they’ll pick Rio.  If they vote with their heads it’ll be Chicago.

As for why? It’s simple.  Money.  The IOC has been battered by negative headlines resulting from financial shortfalls in the next two cities to host the Games: London and Vancouver.   Do they really want to go through that again with the world’s financial footing still uneasy? While we in the Chicago media spend a lot of time, and rightfully so, focusing on the Olympic budget and prospect of cost over-runs the reality is Chicago proposes the least expensive Games plan for 2016.  Combine that with the fact the IOC’s share of revenue typically increases by 20% when the Games are in the US and I think you get a pretty convincing argument.

The unknown factor is the O factor. The IOC members I talk with continue to be hyper-focused on whether President Obama will surprise everyone by joining his wife for the final pitch in Copenhagen.  As one recently told me: “Two is better than one.” The IOC President said this week he thinks just a few votes will separate the winner from the loser.  If that’s the case, one or two IOC members who feel snubbed by the President could kill Chicago’s bid.


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