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Why Dallas and Houston Can’t Co-host the
Olympic Games in 2024

Dallas-2024The Morning News had an editorial over the weekend in support of an effort to bring the Olympics to Dallas in 2024. The effort already has a nonprofit committee and a website and everything. There’s no timeline yet for the United States Olympic Committee to choose which of the 35 American cities it invited to participate will be the official U.S. applicant city (each country is allowed only one) to the International Olympic Committee. The IOC will have the final say, deciding among candidate cities worldwide, as to which gets the games.

DMN‘s editorial board suggested that Dallas might co-host with other Texas cities like Houston and Galveston. While it’s true that Olympics often involve venues some distance outside the actual city, it’s not accurate to say that any of these other sites could “co-host” with Dallas. The Olympics must be officially hosted by a city, not a region. From the Olympic Charter:

The honour and responsibility of hosting the Olympic Games are entrusted by the IOC
to a city, which is elected as the host city of the Olympic Games.

Events can take place outside the city proper, of course, but the major ceremonies and the Olympic Village have to stay put:

All sports competition must take place in the host city of the Olympic Games, unless
the IOC Executive Board authorises the organisation of certain events in other cities,
sites or venues situated in the same country. The Opening and Closing Ceremonies
must take place in the host city itself. The location, sites and venues for any sports or
other events of any kind must all be approved by the IOC Executive Board.

According to several of the players involved with Dallas’ failed 2012 Olympics effort, the fact that one city had to be the headliner on the application was a challenge in gathering the sort of regional cooperation that they needed to make the case that Dallas had enough hotel rooms, transportation, and venues to host the games. (These same players were later involved in Dallas’ successful North Texas Super Bowl XLV bid, which is when I spoke with them.)

So even if Dallas and Houston could somehow agree to help each other out, only one could get its name up on the marquee. And if you’re missing out on having your city’s name spoken and published internationally countless times over the course of several months and weeks, then what’s the point of spending the money to host at all?

Dallas already has international cachet, thanks to the Ewings, after all.