With Chicago aldermen set to vote Wednesday on whether Mayor Richard M. Daley can sign a standard host-city agreement with the International Olympic Committee, the Chicago 2016 organizing committee is engaged in a last-minute, last-ditch effort to pump up enthusiasm for the Chicago bid among local government officials and the populace via a print and radio ad campaign. If Daley signs the host city contract, Chicago would be obligated to cover the costs of hosting the 2016 Summer Olympics, as well as any operating losses.
Two different, copy-heavy full page ads appeared in both Chicago dailies Tuesday, while radio spots featuring the mayors of Atlanta and Los Angeles, also were running to boost support for the city's Olympic bid. One of the print ads was an open letter from Martin Luther King III in which he explains why hosting the Olympics would be good for Chicago. King was involved with the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.
A second print ad offered more factual details about how the Olympics would benefit Chicago and Illinois, including $22 billion in economic impact and a number of new sports facilities that would remain after the Games.
A Chicago 2016 spokesman said the print ads, developed in-house, would appear only once, though the radio spots would continue to run.
The push to rally public backing for Chicago's Olympic bid comes amid growing evidence that Chicagoans' support has waned in recent months, and that Rio de Janeiro's bid could be gaining favor with International Olympic Committee, who will select the 2016 host city on Oct. 2, in Copenhagen. In addition to Rio, Chicago is competing with Madrid and Tokyo for the 2016 Games.