The city of Anchorage, Alaska has formed an exploratory committee to decide whether it should bid for the 2026 Winter Olympic Games.
The 23-member committee held its organizational meeting Tuesday to look into the finances and mechanics of bidding for the 2026 Games.
Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan said at the meeting, “we still feel, in fact more confidently than ever, that Anchorage has the capability, the facilities and most of all, the spirit and the willingness to be the host city”.
Anchorage was the United States Olympic Committee’s (USOC) choice for the 1992 and 1994 Games that were hosted by Albertville, France and Lillehammer, Norway.
Committee member and two-time U.S. Olympic cross-country skier James Southam said that Anchorage will host the U.S. National Cross Country Championships and SuperTour Finals in March.
Sullivan added, “when you host these kinds of national events, it really just increases our resume, our capacity to put in this bid for the 2026 Olympics”.
He says Anchorage is already an international city for travelers, has thousands of hotel rooms, and possibly its most important quality – is well suited for prime-time TV audiences.
Morning competitions could be shown live during prime time in Europe, and late afternoon events would be live during prime time in the eastern and central U.S.
Anchorage’s previous bids didn’t rely on public financing, and Sullivan said that’s the current goal as well, with the hope that television revenue, merchandising and private contributions from corporations would cover the costs.
The Associated Press reports that since the previous bids, Anchorage, like a lot of other cities, has seen some challenging economic times.
Sullivan said, “but I think we’re back on the right track. And you’re talking about Games in 2026, so it’s 13 years from now. You’d like to think we’ll be even better positioned than we are today”.
Sullivan wants the committee to complete its work looking at finances, venues, housing and transportation within eight months.
The USOC will determine whether it wants to back an American city for the Games and Sullivan said that decision will likely come in 2015.