5 athletes to help push area bid for Olympics

Public-service ads seek grass-roots support

January 17, 2002|By June Arney | June Arney,SUN STAFF

Organizers working to bring the 2012 Summer Olympic Games to the Washington-Baltimore area have launched a series of public service announcements starring local athletes, designed to boost grass-roots support for the bid.

The television and radio commercials, featuring Cal Ripken Jr., Redskins cornerback Darrell Green, Olympic gold medalist Dominique Dawes, Paralympian Beth Scott and tennis personality Pam Shriver, will appear on Comcast local cable networks, WBAL-TV and air on WBAL radio in Baltimore and Clear Channel radio in Washington.

"This is one piece of a broader plan to market our bid and make sure the buzz in our community stays high," said Dan Knise, president and chief executive of the Chesapeake Region 2012 Coalition. "We're pretty excited about it. It's the chance to highlight our bid."

The grass-roots appeal is not expected to bring in large sums of money.

"We'd be happy if we got $25,000," Knise said. "It's about money, but more than that, it's about building this sense of excitement in the community. ... We need everybody's support to ultimately bring the Olympic spirit to our region in 2012."

The commercials, launched this week, promote the "Share the Dream" campaign and are the first phase of a larger marketing and public relations effort that run until the U.S. Olympic Committee names a U.S. candidate city for the 2012 Olympics in November. In addition to Washington-Baltimore, Houston, New York and San Francisco are competing.

Washington-Baltimore's overall marketing strategy is expected to cost between $100,000 and $500,000.

The local group has raised $8.8 million of its $9.5 million goal, Knise said. Now, there will be a push to bring in the remainder and $500,000 more for marketing, he said.

Once the USOC names a U.S. candidate city in November, that city will enter the international competition. The International Olympic Committee will choose a host city in 2005.

The USOC has left open the possibility that it might further cut the number of competitors before choosing the winning U.S. city. That elimination, should it occur, likely would follow another round of visits to the cities.

A USOC team will return to Washington for a second site evaluation visit on June 28-29; New York, June 30-July 1; Houston, July 12-13; and San Francisco, July 14-15.

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