The Reno Tahoe Winter Games Coalition (RTWGC) is looking to leverage new bidding rules implemented by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to justify hosting indoor Winter Olympic events in Las Vegas in 2030.
The Coalition, led by Jon Killoran, has been planning bids to host the Winter Games for several years – recently targeting the 2026 edition, but since it requires an endorsement from the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) before moving forward, the RTWGC has had to wait. The USOC has instead focused on winning a Summer Games, having placed unsuccessful bids for New York in 2012 and Chicago in 2016.
With the Los Angeles 2024 Olympic bid committee announcing this week that it has struck a deal to stage the Summer Games in 2028, Killoran believes a window has opened as early as 2030 to host the Winter Games.
RTWGC believes it can apply the same IOC Agenda 2020 reforms used by LA that allow for a broader venue footprint in order to leverage existing facilities and host events without a lot of construction and cost. The IOC is already telling potential 2026 Winter bid cities Sion, Calgary and Innsbruck to use existing facilities, even if they are across national borders.
Killoran told NBC News 4 in Reno, referring to facilities in Las Vegas, “The Orleans, the new T-Mobile Arena where the [National Hockey League’s] Golden Knights are playing, the MGM Grand Garden Arena and the (UNLV) Thomas and Mack – where’s another city that has four arenas within four miles of each other?”
“We’re talking about venues that make the L.A. bid so attractive, they’re ready to go and don’t need to be built.”
With Las Vegas staging the indoor ice events, the Lake Tahoe area has the capacity to stage the outdoor events including skiing and sliding. The cities are about 700 km apart.
Other U.S. cities including Denver and former hosts Lake Placid and Salt Lake City have also considered Olympic Winter Games bids so any proposal from Reno or Las Vegas would have to face domestic competition – but that’s if the USOC wants to host a Winter Games a year-and-a-half after a Summer Games are held in the U.S.
Normally the IOC wouldn’t consider allowing back-to-back Games to be held in a single nation, but with fewer cities willing to take on the costs and risks of hosting, the IOC might soften its rules. It’s possible the IOC could be forced to shop for a 2026 Winter Games host if the two European prospects lose scheduled referendums and Calgary City Council chooses not to move its plans forward .
The IOC will elect a host city for the 2030 Games in 2023.