NEW YORK -- In a last-ditch effort to land the 2012
Olympics, the city will substitute a planned baseball stadium for
the football stadium rejected by state leaders earlier this month,
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Sunday.
Bloomberg said the new stadium would be built on land owned by
the city next to Shea Stadium in Queens and would be used by the
New York Mets. He said he was committed to fighting for the 2012
Summer Games despite the recent setback.
"New Yorkers aren't quitters," he said. "We just don't walk
away from our future."
Bloomberg said the Mets will build the stadium, which will be
privately funded, for the 2009 season. The city and state will
provide $160 million in infrastructure and $100 million to convert
the stadium from 45,000 seats to 80,000 seats if the city is
awarded the Olympics. The mayor also said the Mets could play home
games at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx during the Olympics.
Mets chairman and CEO Fred Wilpon joined the mayor at the news
"We are delighted to join in today's announcement and help
solidify our city's bid for the 2012 Olympic Games," Wilpon said.
Bloomberg and his NYC2012 bid committee worked through the
weekend to finalize the revised plan, which could be presented to
the International Olympic Committee next week. The IOC will choose
a host city July 6 in Singapore.
The city is competing against Paris, London, Madrid and Moscow
to host the games. Members of the IOC said during a visit to New
York earlier this year that a new stadium would be critical to the
On June 6, state leaders refused to approve $300 million in
funding for a proposed $2.2 billion football stadium on Manhattan's
west side. The stadium was to have been used primarily as the home
of the NFL's New York Jets.
The mayor said the Queens stadium plan would be a "tougher
sell" than the Manhattan plan. But he said the new plan would show
the IOC that the city was willing to clear all hurdles to win the
Citing an "exceptional circumstance," the IOC said New York
could modify its plan but must go to the IOC executive board for
approval before the July vote.
U.S. Olympic committee chairman Peter Ueberroth and chief
executive officer Jim Scherr released a state after Bloomberg's
"We applaud Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff
and the entire NYC2012 team for the determination and resolve they
have shown in developing an alternative plan for the Olympic
Stadium," the statement said. "Their can-do attitude typifies the
American spirit and is emblematic of what the Olympic Movement is
State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who opposed the Manhattan
stadium, said Sunday night he has backed the Queens stadium during
the entire Olympics debate.
"The stadium will be built independent of whether we're awarded
the Olympics or not," Silver said. "Hopefully for the '09 season
this can be done."