According to Canada’s CBC, the Southern-Ontario hub of Windsor is revealing more details about their bid to host either the 2016 or 2018 World Championships.
Their consideration was revealed two months ago, when they joined cities like Eindhoven, Houston, Hong Kong, and Abu Dhabi among 7 confirmed bidders for the two meets.
The details of this bid make this a scary proposition for Windsor. Long course World Championships are hard enough to profit off of (they can just ask their neighbors in Montreal about that), but the short course event can be an even bigger money pit.
But the city of Windsor has swimming fever, and might thus be overlooking that fact.
They are working on construction of a $75 million aquatics centre, but that centre isn’t adequate to host the meet. Instead, they will attempt to use a temporary pool in the WFCU Centre that can fit 6,500 fans in a hockey format (its primary function).
The City Council, which met recently to discuss the bid, estimates that it will have to invest another $10 million into hosting the meet (though that seems low). They are relying on major support from nearby Detroit, whose airport sits 30 miles across the Canadian border. The Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau is interested in joining the bid, which would certainly attract much more international attention.
It’s hard to imagine how this bid would be successful, however. Windsor has somewhat of a tourism injury, but it is in the same boat as Detroit with regard to the closing of many auto plants and the toll that has taken on the local economy. Further, any cross-border cooperation in hosting this event adds a new level of complication.
What’s more, internationally it would be nearly impossible to fly directly into Windsor; this would mean most would fly into Detroit and either take a short-hop flight or ground transportation to the Canadian side (though that would mean a second trip through customs).
On the positive side, it would create a unique collaboration between two different countries, which would give some cultural diversity and drag in some extra enthusiasm and name recognition for the city of Windsor.
There is still much shouting to be done on the matter before FINA is even close to ready to name their choice, but I’d put even money that the meet doesn’t end up in Windsor. There are other options that might make better choices, including Toronto, who will already be revamping its facilities to host the 2015 Pan Am Games.