By Barry Janoff
October 2, 2014: For those people thinking of playing in, covering or being a spectator at the 2022 Winter Olympics, starting planning your trip now — to either Beijing or Almaty, Kazakhstan.
Citing financial challenges and lack of support from the government and citizens, Oslo, Norway has dropped out of the bidding process to host the Games that year.
The moves follows similar withdrawals of official bids over the past few months from Stockholm, Krakow (Poland) and Lviv (Ukraine). In addition, St. Moritz (Switzerland) and Munich did not pursue bids they initially had undertaken, also citing lack of financial and political support.
Officials in Oslo had previously reduced the allotted budget they were planning and said that rather than build new venues they would use as many existing facilities as possible, including those from the 1994 Winter Games in Lillehammer.
Oslo also hosted the 1952 Winter Olympics and Lillehammer will host the 2016 Youth Winter Olympics.
The International Olympic Committee is scheduled to name a host city for the 2022 Games this coming July.
Beijing hosted the 2008 Summer Games. Neither Beijing or Almaty has hosted the Winter Olympics. If Beijing is named, it would become the first city to host both a Winter and Summer Olympics, according to NBC.
NBC Universal earlier this year agreed to pay $7.75 billion, according to industry analysts, for the exclusive U.S. broadcast rights to the Olympic Games from 2022 through 2032, extending a deal with the IOC dating back to 1992.
Following Oslo's withdrawal, the IOC said it would not re-open the bidding process to additional cities.
"The IOC is sticking to its commitments," IOC president Thomas Bach told the Associated Press on Thursday. "We have issued the invitation for bidding. There is a clear and transparent procedure. We will follow this procedure with two candidates."
The last time there were only two cities bidding to host the Olympics was in 1999 when Turin, Italy was named over Sion, Switzerland, to host the 2006 Winter Games, according to GamesBids.com.
In a statement, the IOC decried Oslo's withdrawal.
"This is a missed opportunity for the City of Oslo and for all the people of Norway who are known world-wide for being huge fans of winter sports," wrote Christophe Dubi, IOC Executive Director of the Olympic Games. "And it is mostly a missed opportunity for the outstanding Norwegian athletes who will not be able to reach new Olympic heights in their home country. It is a missed opportunity to make the most of the $880 million investment the IOC would have made to the Games that would have built a considerable legacy for the people.
"In addition, national sponsorship rights granted by the IOC would have delivered a considerable sum and almost certainly substantially more than the $181 million estimated in the bid. The most recent editions of the Olympic Winter Games (for instance Vancouver and Sochi), which have all either broken even or made a profit, have made sponsorship revenue four times higher than that," wrote Dubi.
"This is a missed opportunity for the City of Oslo and for all the people of Norway who are known world-wide for being huge fans of winter sports."
Dubi said that the IOC would continue to "work closely with the Olympic Movement in Norway to make the Lillehammer Winter Youth Olympic Games in (Feb. 12-21) 2016 a success for the young athletes."
Upcoming Olympics include 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro and 2018 Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea.
The U.S. Olympic Committee said it was studying whether or not to bin on the 2024 Summer Olympics. The U.S. las hosted the Summer Games in 1996 in Atlanta and the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake CIty.
Global IOC marketing partners include Atos, Coca-Cola, Dow Chemical, General Electric, McDonald's, Omega, Panasonic, Procter & Gamble, Samsung and Visa.