Chicago lost the bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics this morning, but may have gained something more powerful—exposure. The committee to elect Chicago as host to the 2016 Games relied heavily on social media to rally support for their bid. The Chicago 2016 Official Bid page on Facebook garnered over 120,000 fans in its short existence. While the page was initially created to show support for Chicago’s bid, it soon became a place to promote the city itself. The discussions cover everything from the Chicago Cubs and Chicago Festivals to tourist attractions and top restaurants. The page’s wall is full of pro-Chicago sentiments, several of which label Chicago as the best city in the country.
The Chicago 2016 YouTube channel has a similar story. With a collection of over 400 videos promoting Chicago, the channel showed thousands of people the beauty of this city. Many of these videos feature celebrity and athlete endorsements and offer information and insight into the city.
Chicago didn’t walk away with the opportunity to host the Olympics, but through social media they used the Olympic bid as a tool to gain exposure and bring tourism dollars to the city.