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Cincinnati Officials Delusional Regarding 2012 World Choir Games?

2012 World Choir Games

“Regional tourism and development experts say it’s hard to overestimate the positive effects this 10-day visit from the world can have on the city’s image and economy, or the goodwill it can generate for the country as a whole.”

Cincinnati Enquirer editorial page on the impact of the estimated 15,000 visitors from 64 countries in our fair city for the 2012 World Choir Games.

Joe Aaron: Listen, I think it’s absolutely wonderful that thousands of out-of-town visitors (many international) will be visiting and enjoying all the wonderful gifts the Queen City has to offer (and filling it’s hotel rooms and restaurants) but the idea that the World Choir Games is going to suddenly put Cincinnati on the map with the kind of ethereal buzz reserved for Austin, Nashville, & Charleston, S.C. is just not going to happen.  With its great restaurants, verdant green hills, and excellent family amenities, Cincinnati is most definitely an underrated American city, but 15,000 choir singers flooding the city is not the best way to deliver this message.  Whoever took advice from choir members???  Bonnaroo this is not.

“Cincinnati as a city does not have very good name recognition outside the U.S. We face that all the time – we’re a university in a U.S. city no one’s ever heard of,”

Jonathan Weller, director of international admissions at the University of Cincinnati. Cincinnati Enquirer

Joe Aaron: Yeah, no kidding—when I first arrived in Cincinnati in 2006 from Nashville, my wife and I were always amazed at how many people asked, “Why are you moving here?”, with the implied real question being why would you move here if you didn’t have too.  I have never seen a city with a more collective inferiority complex regarding their civic perception.  Yet, no one from Cincinnati ever, EVER seems to leave—and when they do, they always seem to come back.

“Cincinnatians don’t have to look far to see the benefits, or hear the buzz, generated by successfully hosting a major event. In February, Indianapolis drew 150,000 visitors to the Super Bowl, basked in national accolades for its hospitality, and put itself on the map as a vibrant, interesting city to visit.”

Cincinnati Enquirer editorial page.

Joe Aaron: This is where Cincinnati officials (and some misguided media members apparently) are delusional.  A nice event, yes, but a “major event” on the scale of the Super Bowl?  Unless Simon Cowell shows up and starts ousting choirs and Jessica Simpson has a nipple slip while hosting, who would ever know it’s here?  I dare you to find one person not in Cincinnati who is even remotely familiar with the 2012 World Choir Games and fewer still who would be the least bit impressed that The Big Nasty is the host.

A record 117 million people tuned into the Super Bowl last February and the corporate, entertainment, and media Top 1% took up residence in the city for 2 weeks. That’s how you get America’s attention.  Sure, Indy took some lumps from some of those visitors who laughed at seemingly every local wearing a Colts jersey, but by and large, there was nothing but raves for Indy’s hospitality and efficiency.  Not every Super Bowl works to build a city’s swagger–ask Jacksonville, or even Phoenix—two cities in recent years that were roundly criticized by the movers, shakers, and opinion makers.