Could Charlotte host the 2040 Olympics? One councilman thinks so.

CHARLOTTE — Now that the Bank of America Stadium renovation project is happening, many are wondering what major events it will draw to Charlotte.

There’s speculation around the MLS All-Star Game, the NFL draft, or maybe even Taylor Swift.

One city councilman is thinking bigger. He said Charlotte may be able to host the Olympics.

“The U.S. Performance Center has been working in real time right now to recruit the Military World Games in 2027, and I have already gotten word the potential of these investments is very compelling to them as they sit on the one-yard line of this decision,” Councilman Tariq Bokhari said. “That win would tee us up to win the 2031 Pan [American] Games, which would then position us for the 2040 Olympics in Charlotte.”

This isn’t the first time Charlotte has been linked to the games. In 2013, the U.S. Olympic Committee sent a letter to 35 cities, including Charlotte, to gauge interest in hosting. The letter said the host city would need 45,000 hotel rooms.

At the time, there were only 30,000 in the 16-county area of Charlotte. Now, the region has about 47,000 rooms.

With the hotels, an international airport, and an upgraded Bank of America Stadium, could Charlotte be a possible host city for the Olympics? Channel 9′s Joe Bruno asked the experts.

Both the 2028 and 2034 games will likely be elsewhere in the U.S., so Dr. Yoav Dubinsky, an instructor of sports business at the University of Oregon says, “it is highly unlikely that the 2040 Games will be held in the U.S., especially as there are multiple countries and cities who expressed interest to host the 2036 Olympic Games and the [International Olympic Committee] is eager to expand to new markets such as India or the Middle East.”

Virginia Tech professor Mike Garvin agrees it may be a long shot.

“I think it’s a tall order given the number of venues, facilities, etc. needed,” he said. “It would have to be a regional effort where Greensboro and other cities in North Carolina were involved.”

The Queen City does have Olympic ties. The University of North Carolina at Charlotte is home to the United States Performance Center. That’s where future Olympians train, including the U.S. field hockey team. It is one of the most prestigious sports science clinics in the country.

North Carolina is certainly in play for the World Games, which would be in 2027.

The World Games are like the Olympics, happening every four years, but the world’s militaries participate. The games have never been in the United States.

Read the full statements from the professors below:

Dr. Yoav Dubinsky:

“As Los Angeles will host the 2028 Olympic Games and it is very likely Salt Lake City will host the 2034 Winter Olympic Games, it is highly unlikely that the 2040 Olympic Games will be held in the USA. Especially as there are multiple countries and cities who expressed interest to host the 2036 Olympic Games and the IOC is eager to expand to new markets such as India or the Middle East. Indeed, there was a precedent in the past that the USA hosted the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles and 12 years later the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, but for a country to host two Olympic Games in such proximity is very rare.”

Professor Mike Garvin:

Thoughts about Charlotte hosting Olympics in 2040. Most often, cities use existing facilities and infrastructure as well as construct new facilities and infrastructure to support the games. The key questions are to what extent can existing facilities be used and how many and what types of new facilities are needed – at what cost? And how can any new facilities be repurposed or used after the games?

Below are just a smattering of issues that must be considered and addressed.


Many venues are necessary for the events themselves; I’ve listed many below with thoughts associated with each:

-Athletics (Track & Field) – this is the premier venue where opening and closing ceremonies are held; presumably, this would be in the renovated Bank of America stadium – not exactly sure how they’d plan to fit a 400m track within this facility.

-Basketball (Men & Women) – likely could accommodate both in the Hornets arena or use the Greensboro Coliseum as well.

-Baseball – makes its return in LA in 2028, so presume it will stay. Charlotte has good minor league facility in Truist Park that would likely suffice.

-Boxing – unclear where Charlotte would host such

-Crew/Rowing/Canoe, etc. – presume the whitewater center could handle these events or they get pushed up to Lake Norman

-Diving & Swimming – major events; I don’t know whether Charlotte has a venue appropriate for this level of competition

-Soccer (Men & Women) – the men are less prominent since U23 teams play, so likely need a good college venue for them; the women are a different story since these are the national teams so need an appropriate venue for the crowds they would attract. Maybe this is how Charlotte gets a soccer venue for Charlotte FC

-Cycling – typically niche venues that cities don’t have.

-Equestrian, Handball, Tennis, etc. – the list of additional events needing venues is quite long. These are not necessarily high profile events but they need world-class facilities regardless.


-Olympic village – lots of coaches and athletes to house. These would likely need to be built and what’s done with them afterwards? In 1996, Atlanta built housing, etc. that was then repurposed as dorms for GA State University. Could Charlotte do something similar?

-Transportation/Logistics – huge issue; many people that need to move about to support and attend events; again in 1996, Atlanta focused on this significantly. Many local residents were worried about it. Turned out that many left the city during the Olympics so traffic was not as bad as expected. However, I don’t think Atlanta received much praise for the logistics, etc. despite years of planning.

-Hotels/amenities – will need to accommodate many visitors. I don’t know what level of capacity Charlotte has in the region.


-With Olympics in LA in 2028, would the committee return the games to US just 12 years later? No idea, but the decisions made by the committee are driven by a host of factors that aren’t transparent.

-Local stakeholders – who will get behind this and champion it? Do the people of Charlotte want this? Important considerations. If the community isn’t behind and excited about the effort, then there will be backlash, etc.


-If a lot of new facilities are needed, then will need contractors and workforce to build them and build them on time. Currently, workforce issues in construction are significant. There’s not enough skilled labor for the demand and contractors are at capacity. What will situation be in 2040? Who knows? But, I don’t recall an Olympics recently where they weren’t racing to finish facilities.

-With construction comes disruption in communities, etc.

Bottom-line: I suspect Charlotte could present a proposal to host if it were to collaborate with Greensboro (and possibly Raleigh – although Raleigh is 2.5 hours away, which is less appealing than the 1 to 1.5 hours to Greensboro). But there’s a lot to consider and work out. How competitive would a proposal from Charlotte be? How much time/effort and resources is the city willing to expend to have a chance? And then what is the benefit to cost if awarded? I don’t think that most cities who host benefit financially or economically that much from hosting; I may be wrong about this, but it should be fairly easy to research this information.

(WATCH BELOW: Hometown hopefuls look to bring back gold from Paris 2024 Olympics)

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