Ahead of a planned referendum on the issue, Hamburg, Germany's bid to host the 2024 summer Olympics is backed by 63 percent of residents, according to a poll conducted on behalf of the German Olympic Committee. The results of the survey have boosted hopes of organizers, reported Sports Business Daily Thursday.
The prospect of hosting the Olympics has become more divisive recently, especially concerning the 2024 games. Boston had its bid for the 2024 Olympics terminated by the United States Olympic Committee in July after local officials would not sign a host contract over concerns that taxpayers would end up taking on significant costs. The public referendum in Hamburg is scheduled for Nov. 29, and organizers believe they have the necessary support.
"We are very confident with regard to the referendum," said Alfons Hoermann, president of the German Olympic Committee, according to Sports Business Daily.
But the last time a German city considered hosting an Olympics, residents were against the idea. Munich voted resoundingly against hosting the 2022 Olympics and the bid was dropped because of financial concerns. Beijing ended up beating Almaty, Kazahkstan for the games that also saw Oslo, Norway; Stockholm, Sweden; Krakow, Poland; and Lviv, Ukraine drop their bids over cost concerns.
Officials in Germany are reportedly employing a different tact this time around. The German Olympic Committee is attempting to be realistic about cost concerns while playing up the country's history of hosting major events. "On the one hand we are very transparent and tell the people all about the costs of possible Olympic Games," Hoermann said, according to Sports Business Daily. "On the other hand we remind them of the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany or the 1972 Games in Munich, which had a very positive effect on the development of the region around Munich and the sport in general in Germany."
Organizers have yet to release a full cost estimate for the games, however, which was expected to come in mid-September, instead only issuing a projected $2.3 billion estimate for venue development. Hamburg is competing with Los Angeles, Rome and Budapest, Hungary for the 2024 games.
Los Angeles stepped in as the United States' city after Boston had its bid terminated. The city cleared a major hurdle in early September when its City Council approved Mayor Eric Garcetti's plan to move forward with its bid and cleared up about $6 billion in public funds.
While Germany's organizers are preparing for the important Nov. 29 vote, Hungary announced last week it has no plans to carry out a public referendum of its own. Despite a newspaper poll finding 51 percent of residents wanted a referendum the Hungarian Olympic Committee said last Friday, there is "solid support and a powerful unity" behind the project, according to USA Today. The same newspaper poll found 46 percent of residents backed the bid while 41 percent were against it.