Whether it's realistic — or financially feasible — or not, San Francisco is officially in the running to be the host city for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games. The U.S. Olympic Committee will be deciding early next year whether to put forward Los Angeles, Boston, Washington, D.C., or SF as an official candidate city for the Games, which are estimated to cost upwards of $4.5 billion to put on, as the Chron reports. We've been on the U.S. shortlist since June, but now actual study is being put into this effort, and the final decision on the locale will be made by the international committee in 2017.

San Francisco has never hosted an Olympic Games, and increasingly the undertaking of a modern games has become a bit of a boondoggle. Economics professor Andrew Zimbalist, who's written a book on this topic, calls the $4.5 billion figure nonsense (the Beijing Olympics in 2008 cost closer to $44 billion). "The modern Olympics costs billions and billions of dollars to host," he says, and it doesn't necessarily amount to more tourism or great economic benefit at all.

The Olympic Committee has therefore been emphasizing sustainability, and the construction of temporary structures, which has led to the idea of a $350 million temporary stadium that would need to be built in Brisbane to accommodate 60,000 people and in which there could be opening and closing ceremonies, as well as track and field events. As Chuck Nevius notes, we don't currently have a stadium in the Bay Area that would suffice, since Levi's stadium isn't big enough to fit a 400-meter track and UC Berkeley's Edwards Stadium doesn't have enough seating.

The Games would make use of Levi's Stadium, though, as well as Stanford Stadium and the new Earthquakes’ soccer stadium being built in San Jose. The planned redevelopment of the Oakland Coliseum area may also play into this — and Nevius suggests that for various reasons, including weather, the focal-point stadium should be there and not Brisbane, since Oakland wants to build new stadiums for football and baseball anyway.

Giants President Larry Baer is heading the local effort, and he suggests "there may be some ways to modernize the Games or do it a little differently," but nevertheless it's going to require huge outlays of cash and the securing of some international sponsors. SF previously put in failed bids to host the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Games.

The next Summer Olympics coming up in 2016 will be in Rio, followed by the Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea in 2018, and the Summer Games in 2020 in Tokyo.