Cincy withdraws GOP convention bid; cites U.S. Bank Arena

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Cincinnati withdrew its bid Thursday to host the 2016 Republican National Convention, citing U.S. Bank Arena as the reason.

"Cincinnati respectfully withdrew its bid from the selection process based upon the inability to meet the criteria set forth by the (Republican National Committee) in regards to the arena as the main convention hall," the Cincinnati Host Committee said in a statement.

FOX19 first broke the story Thursday afternoon before official announcements.

The arena, known for years as Riverfront Coliseum, opened in 1975. U.S. Bank Arena said it was disappointed in the decision.

"Although U.S. Bank Arena met all initial requirements from the convention's request for proposal, additional convention specific criteria was added after the site visit and proved to be difficult to facilitate," the arena said. "These challenges relate to temporary modifications such as TV platforms that were a unique request that were not easily remedied."

"Hopefully we can do some renovations to US Bank Arena and be back in the game," said Cincinnati Councilwoman Amy Murray.

Las Vegas also withdrew, the RNC said Thursday.

That leaves Cleveland, Dallas, Kansas City, Mo. and Denver in the running.

"Prior to the site selection committee vote, Cincinnati respectfully withdrew their bid from the process based upon the criteria set forth by the RNC for the main arena," the RNC said. "Las Vegas also respectfully withdrew their 2016 bid based on the RNC's criteria for a traditional arena facility and enough on-site preparatory time to accommodate the 2016 convention."

Tampa, Fla. was the 2012 location, which resulted in a $400 million economic boost for the area.

"We're disappointed that Cincinnati wasn't able to continue to the next round but we're so proud we had the opportunity to participate in this very competitive process," said John Barrett, chairman, president and CEO of Western Southern Financial Group.

The Democratic National Committee hasn't picked its convention host city either. Columbus, Ohio reportedly is among the potential cities.

The quadrennial conventions are when the parties officially nominate their candidates for president and vice president.

Cincinnati is an attractive destination for such an event because Hamilton County is believed to be one of the key battleground counties in the entire country.

"They met the first criteria the GOP had, they passed that with flying colors and then I think the GOP came back and said we need this, this, and this and it was too late in the game or not possible," said WKRQ DJ Brian Douglas..

The host committee in Cincinnati says they fully intend to shoot for 2020, but this whole process was a positive for Cincinnati from talking about how walkable, and compact downtown is, to the explosion of commerce and development throughout the city.

In April, arena officials announced they are undergoing $600,000 worth of renovations for larger stages and 1,300 additional seats.

This will be the first major renovation since 1997.

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