A committee is looking into whether Anchorage, Alaska’s largest city, should consider bidding for the 2026 Winter Olympic Games.
Emeritus member Rick Nerland, a key organizing committee member for Anchorage’s previous losing bids for the 1992 and 1994 Winter Games, addressed the group about experiences learned from those bids. He said the things that made Anchorage attractive then are even stronger now.
Former mayor Rick Mystrom said despite the losses, Anchorage was fairly well qualified, adding that Anchorage is well positioned to host, given that it is equidistant from northern Europe and northern Asia, and in a prime spot for live television.
He said, “Anchorage has the best time in the world for the television market”. If an event final is held at 4 p.m. in Alaska, it’s 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. across America.
Mystrom said live broadcasts are the big revenue generator for the Olympics. Radio rights, tickets and merchandise sales are how the Games make money.
To bid, the city won’t have to build infrastructure for the Games in advance. Mystrom said, “you have to prove that you have the ability to host a big event”.
The plan is to build bobsleigh and luge courses in Eagle Rive, a main stadium at Alaska Pacific University, and host biathlon and Nordic skiing at Kincaid Park.
Many on the committee agree that hosting the Winter Games could have a significant and positive impact on the city for many years.
The committee must now determine if the undertaking would benefit the city. It has already met twice, once in early August and on Thursday.