Local News

Triangle Makes Bid for Pan Am Games

Posted September 13, 1998

— Sports is big business these days, and the Triangle is trying to figure out how to cash in.

The North Carolina Sports Summit kicked off Monday. Among the hot topics, the Special Olympics World Summer Games and the possibility of attracting another big event.

The Pan Am Games is a multi-sport, international event with 7,000 athletes and roughly 750,000 spectators. The Triangle area is among three U.S. cities vying for the games, and everyone must have their applications in by Tuesday.

The bids take a lot of work, but it is worth it, because of the potential payoff.

Six hundred pages of information, including 50 maps, make up the Triangle's bid for the 2007 Pan Am Games.

"It really just is a complete inventory of the infrastructure in the Triangle," explained Winkie La Force, president of the N.C. Bid Committee 2007.

The Triangle's bid opponents, Miami and San Antonio, have their positives. But the Triangle's pitch will stress that it has more places to hold athletic events.

"Our whole theme in this bid is that we are an emerging area, and we're growing in leaps and bounds," said La Force.

The bid committee also has a video touting the Triangle as a top sports destination. It cannot be used in the official bid, but it still can be shown to lots of people with an influence on the final decision.

Experts at the First Annual North Carolina Sports Summit say the area needs to take any advantage it can get, because the payoff is so huge.

While anN.C. Statefootball game has an economic impact of roughly a million dollars, the Pan Am Games could bring $500 million to the area.

"It would bring a lot of money into the Triangle," said Bill Dooley, N.C. Sports Development director. "Besides that, just showcasing the area is unbelievable when you talk about it's the largest sporting event other thanthe Olympicsin the world."

Events next year like the U.S. Open and the Special Olympics can only strengthen the Triangle's Pan Am bid.

Now, if the Triangle gets the U.S. nomination to host the Pan Am Games, it still must compete against cities from outside the U.S., but a U.S. city has not hosted the event since 1987.

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