Jacksonville, Florida is the latest city to publicly announce its bid for the 2016 US Olympic Trials, according to Jacksonville.com.
Their plan will be similar to that of Omaha, hosts of the last two events, in that they will plant a pool in the center of a basketball arean – Veterans Memorial Arena. The $130 million stadium is similar to the CenturyLink center in Omaha in that it’s main tenants are a mid-major college basketball team (the Jacksonville Dolphins) and a minor-league pro team (in this case arena football), but it was built specifically to be a regional entertainment center and a multi-purpose venue. Also like the Century-Link Center, it’s a relatively new facility – built in the same year, in fact, of 2003.
The facility seats 15,000 (quite a bit smaller than both CenturyLink and especially the 23,500 seat Greensboro Colliseum that has also put in a bid for 2016). There’s also no convention-center next door to house the warmup pool, so it would be interesting to see if there was space for the facility within the building itself. There have also recently been some structural issues with the facility that could cause the selection committee some concern.
But what Jacksonville does have working in its favor is the Super Bowl. In 2005, they hosted Super Bowl XXIX, and so they have plenty of experience with hosting large-scale events (as big as the US Swimming Trials are, even they are dwarfed by the Super Bowl).