The idea of Florida hosting the postponed Summer Olympics is increasingly possible after a state official met with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Wednesday.
Increasing concerns about whether scheduled host city Tokyo can host the event this summer led Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis to offer the Sunshine State as a backup, he told FOX Business Network's "Cavuto: Coast to Coast".
“I had a nice visit with the IOC,” said Patronis, who added that Olympic officials "pointed out the value that Florida brings to the table – the talent, the resources, the funding that we provide.”
“I know the Olympics want Japan,” he added. “I'm just concerned Japan doesn't want the Olympics.”
Worries have been mounting over the possibility of staging the Summer Games after it was postponed a year ago due to the coronavirus pandemic. Since then, organizers have dealt with growing budget and health concerns, including a spike in coronavirus cases across Japan.
According to The Wall Street Journal, one Japanese official is calling on U.S. President Biden to help rescue the Tokyo Games. The IOC reiterated its commitment to holding the Olympics in Japan during a press conference Wednesday.
“The Olympics are in a tough place – 80% of the Japanese people do not want the games to move forward,” Patronis said, referring to two recent polls, reported by The Associated Press.
Patronis also pointed to Florida’s success hosting events like the 2020 NBA Playoffs in a bubble environment at Walt Disney World, as well as the opening of major theme parks.
“They're doing it safely,” he said. “We serviced 131 million tourists last year. That's more than the entire country of Japan combined.”
Patronis recalled IOC President Thomas Bach saying the Games are a television event rather than a spectator event. However, the Olympics still cost host cities a significant amount of money in infrastructure.
“The Olympics isn't an event to take lightly," Patronis said. "It costs billions of dollars to put it together."
He added there has been a huge outpouring of support to have Florida host the Games.
“The talent is here, the networks are here, the viewership is here."