A Sporting Chance

Denver's growing stature in sports bodes well for Olympic dreams.

March 2009

This month the sporting world's brain trust (read: business suits, not tracksuits) will descend on Denver for its annual convention, Sportsaccord. The event, which has been called the "G8 of sports," pulls together the heads of the Olympic Games and international sports federations for a weeklong shindig to plan the future of athletics.

Hosting Sportsaccord is a coup for Denver, which, thanks to the Metro Denver Sports Commission and the Convention and Visitors Bureau, has been able to attract bigger events to town. In the past few years Denver has held the Democratic National Convention, all-star games for the NBA and the MLS, and the Frozen Four college hockey championship—prestigious events that bring the city tens of millions of dollars in tourism.

Sportsaccord, though, presents a chance to market our stadiums, resorts, and city to the big spenders behind international sporting championships like the soccer World Cup and the Pan American Games. In a way, we've already been recognized—this is the first time a North American city will host the event in its six-year history. Other hosts have included Madrid, Beijing, and Athens—the caliber of cities that have won, or nearly won, the ultimate sporting event: the Olympics.

The Metro Denver Sports Commission remains coy on an Olympics bid, needing to route any hopes through the U.S. Olympic Committee. However, a shot at the Games (say, the 2018 Winter Olympics?) isn't as outlandish a proposal as it used to be— Denver, rather infamously, rejected the 1976 Winter Olympics, fearing increased taxes and overdevelopment. With luck, the International Olympic Committee has a short memory and this month we can win their hearts over—for the second time.