SAN FRANCISCO – San Francisco abandoned its bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics after plans for a new bayfront stadium collapsed when the San Francisco 49ers said they intend to move to Silicon Valley.
Los Angeles and Chicago are now the remaining U.S. candidates to hold the games following Monday's announcement by the San Francisco 2016 Bid Committee.
John York, owner of the 49ers, told city officials last week he was breaking off negotiations for a new stadium at Candlestick Point and was considering a move to Santa Clara.
Scott Givens, managing director and chief executive officer of the bid committee, said the 49ers' decision created a "perceptual gap" that hurt the city's reputation in the eyes of the Olympic committee.
"The damage has been done and the damage can't be pulled back," he said.
The city's Olympic organizing panel was stunned by the new last week and said it would try to find a new location for the marquee events, including the opening and closing ceremonies and track and field competition.
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom said earlier the city would give up the bid if it "couldn't guarantee certain things."
The U.S. Olympic Committee was also eager to avoid a repeat of New York's failed 2012 Olympics bid. Financing for the New York stadium fell apart about a month before the final vote, and the city didn't get nearly the votes it needed to host the games.
San Francisco's loss can only help Los Angeles and Chicago, one of which will be the American candidate if the USOC decides in December to nominate a city. The candidates have to give a detailed presentation of their plan to the USOC by March 31. The USOC would choose its candidate in April.
The International Olympic Committee will select the host city in 2009.
Madrid, Spain; New Delhi; Prague, Czech Republic; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Rome; and Tokyo are among the international cities that also have expressed interest in landing the 2016 Games. The Summer Olympics will be in Beijing in 2008 and London in 2012.
Los Angeles is the only American candidate with a stadium in place. The host of the 1932 and 1984 Games would use a refurbished Los Angeles Coliseum. The extent of the restoration will depend in part on whether the NFL returns to Los Angeles.
The city also has permanent venues in place for every sport that needs them, save shooting. They propose using housing at UCLA and USC for the Olympic village. They believe the package they offer — with more venues in place and fewer financial questions — will outweigh concerns about bringing the Olympics back to Southern California a third time.