NYC campaign to play host to Olympics wins over USOC

NEW YORK: Two years ago, when now-Deputy Mayor Daniel Doctoroff began pushing the idea that New York City should attempt to lure the 2012 Summer Olympics, most people thought the idea was, to say the least, a stretch.

NEW YORK: Two years ago, when now-Deputy Mayor Daniel Doctoroff began pushing the idea that New York City should attempt to lure the 2012 Summer Olympics, most people thought the idea was, to say the least, a stretch.

The city, which is recognized as a major center of commerce and culture, was otherwise an unlikely candidate to host the world's preeminent sporting event.

Nevertheless, the city took a huge step toward making Doctoroff's dream a reality last week when it was selected by the US Olympic Committee to be the US city that will vie for the right to host the Games.

"When Dan floated this idea two years ago, I think people thought he was crazy," said New York PR veteran Howard Rubenstein, whose firm Rubenstein Associates handled media relations for what was dubbed NYC2012. "He deserves so much of the credit."

Perhaps a substantial part of the credit for New York's successful bid should also go to the city's remarkably elaborate presentation to the USOC, which included five individual videos supporting 11 live speakers.

Entitled, "New York, The World's Second Home," the presentation included testimonials by mayor Michael Bloomberg, Rudy Giuliani, and actor Billy Crystal, as well as some former Olympians.

Developed by creative marketing events and presentations firm Broad Street, a subsidiary of Incepta Group, the presentation was crafted around three major themes.

First, the presentation discussed New York's legacy as an international city where people from around the world have come to seek new opportunities.

That backdrop was compared to the Olympic Games, which ideally affords a similar opportunity to the athletes participating.

Secondly, the campaign was focused on the city's plan to handle the logistics of hosting the scores of Olympic events within the confines of one city.

"We saw the fact that New York is relatively compact as a distinct advantage for us," said Patty Goodwin, Broad Street creative director. "It was a point we wanted to emphasize because San Francisco was, by contrast, very spread out."

Goodwin also said that logistics became an important part of the campaign after traffic congestion became a persistent problem at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.

The last part of the presentation focused on New York's strategy for winning the Games when it presents before the International Olympic Committee, which makes the ultimate decision on a host city.

The next challenge of the NYC2012 campaign appears to be selling the New York story to an international audience, as well as skeptics in the city who are unsure of the positive return the Games will provide.

Given the IOC's recent bribery scandals, there are likely to be strict rules about contact between city officials and IOC delegates.

"We hope to tell our story within the guidelines set by the IOC - we're still waiting to see what we can do," said Rubenstein. "I'm sure down the line we will be telling our story through the media. I think being located in the media capital of the world helps us in that regard."

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