JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jacksonville is looking to get in on some big-time Olympic action. The city plans to bid on becoming the location for the 2016 swimming time trials. Its a move that would mean big money.
Folks with Visit Jacksonville are calling it an economic shot in the arm of Super Bowl caliber. The Olympic swimming time trials draws in athletes from all over. And the eight day event will put the city on the map for the nation to see.
"We would have two temporary pools put in the Arena. One inside one outdoors," explained Alex Michaels with Visit Jacksonville.
Michaels says what better city than the River City, a community thriving on water with a few pretty immaculate athletes of our own.
"Jacksonville is such a huge swimming community. Having schools like Bowles High School here with great swim team, University of Florida were one of the top programs in the country. We knew that this would be a perfect fit."
So far a handful of cities have expressed interest so the bid won't be a walk in the park to snatch up. But Visit Jacksonville and the city have already been studying, planning and crossing their fingers.
"The winning city is going to have to show the determination to have this here."
The impact would be monumental. Michaels says those coming in for the event would stay in our hotels. Eat in our restaurants. And be entertained by our nightlife.
"Not only are we looking at about 30 million in direct impact with hotel revenue food sales ticket sales in addition to that the exposure that we will get long after the Olympic trials we'll be looking at close to 100 million," he said. "This is the kind of event that will put us on the map and open up doors for many many other events to come."
Michaels says bids open in September and Jacksonville will likely place its bid in January. We will know a year from now if the River City is selected.
And Michaels says if we win the 2012 bid, there's a strong chance we'd get it again for 2020. That's what happened in Omaha. They had the trials in 2008 and start again June 25 for the 2012 trials.
Jacksonville is sending a team there, including the Mayor, to assess it first hand.