In an update to our “Better Know an Olympic Trials Bid” piece, the City of Jacksonville has released more information about their bid, and specifically about the details of how Veterans Memorial Arena would be laid out for the meet.
The city is throwing out huge estimates for the economic impact on the Jacksonville area. Figures like 26,000 hotel rooms, $7 million in economic impact from hotel and motel revenue, more than $30 million in total local revenue, or 200,000 visitors.
The great Sergio Lopez says that “The Jacksonville swimming tradition, the love of our citizens for sports, our beautiful river and beach settings along with our sports facilities will make the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials the best ever done. This event would have a profound impact in making Jacksonville the sports city destination of the South.”
Veterans Memorial would only be configured to seat about 10,000 fans per session.
That would mean that their goals of exceeding attendance of 160,000 fans over 15 sessions would be practically impossible. In 2012, evening sessions were, for the most part, bursting at the 13,200 capacity seams. The averages were 9,468 for prelims sessions and 12,289 for evening sessions.
Last July, before any bids had been finalized, USA Swimming Executive Director told the LA Times that “”I think 12,000 to 15,000 is the right number.” Jacksonville would seem to come up well short of that, especially if the event hopes to grow bigger in 2016 than it was in 2012.
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