Chicago's Really Big Bid for 2016 Olympics

And, naturally, it's incredibly expensive

Without the benefit of a census or scientific poll, this is just a guess, but it's a guess we're willing to venture: Most Chicagoans are in favor of hosting the 2016 Olympics. This makes sense for a few reasons: 1) The idea of the Olympics -- pageantry, world spirit, international profile -- is a lot more attractive than the practical headaches involved in actual hosting. 2) 2016 is a long way away, and they don't feel real yet. And 3) most people probably haven't seen the bill.

Rest assured, getting the Olympics to the city is going to be an expensive task. How expensive? Crain's Chicago and Chicagoist accumulated the final bid data:

-- A $1 Billion guarantee from the city and state in funding ($500 Million from the city, the remaining half-billion from "an unspecified insurance policy")
-- A $1.1 Billion Olympic Village on the old Michael Reese Hospital, built by a private developer and to be resold after the Games, with no named developers on board
-- Total construction costs at $945 million, including a $360 million temporary Olympic stadium (down from $386 million, with the removal of skyboxes)
-- A total budget of $4.7 billion for the Games, with…
-- A generation of $22.5 billion of "new economic activity," from 2011 through 2021, paying off nearly $4 for every dollar invested in the Games.

The most suspect thing in whole lot is the "unspecific insurance policy." Just what does that mean? Otherwise, the data sounds about right -- no one could have expected the games would come to Chicago for anything less than $1 billion in bid guarantees, not to mention the athletic village and other infrastructure improvements.

The real question will be whether Chicago can guarantee state support for the Olympics in the wake of The Governor Who Shall Not Be Named's recent corruption charges. Or, conversely, whether the Olympics will want the state of Illinois involved anyway.

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