The choice of the next great American city to host the 2016 Republican National Convention centers on several key issues: financial ability, facilities/housing and easy, convenient transportation. But woven through all the details is the simple fact that this incredible event carries meaning far beyond the sum of its parts. For the RNC Site Selection Committee and eventually the Committee on Arrangements, this is about hosting amazing meetings and celebrations for delegates and the media, while strategically moving to elect the next President of the United States.

Only Columbus, in the swinging heart of battleground Ohio, offers the answers to all of these questions.

The Columbus 2016 Host Committee proudly invites the Republican National Convention to meet in Columbus in 2016.

Columbus is a diverse and growing example of the new Midwest, steeped in history but leading the region toward a brighter future, with high-tech research and development, more than 30 colleges and universities, leading companies in finance, fashion, services and energy. This city, recently celebrating its 200th birthday, is in a period of unprecedented public-private collaboration, and that is exactly what it will take to host a successful convention for the Republican Party’s delegates and candidates before the eyes of the world in 2016.

Strategic Partners

More than a decade of economic and civic growth brought Columbus’ business and government sectors close together, with leaders from the top corporations, City Hall and Franklin County aligned toward tangible results. This is the heart of our Host Committee, a proven team focused on bringing the right tools to the table to solve problems and cut through challenges.

For our region, a national political convention is the largest single undertaking in a generation, and that means the RNC will enjoy the full commitment and attention of our top leaders. This allows us to strategically plan for the future and raise the investment needed to accomplish a successful Convention.

In addition, our greatest partner-asset is our residents. A core of 1,200 trained CTA tourism ambassadors is at the heart of the thousands of volunteers ready to step up and help welcome visitors from around the world.

Easy Accessibility

Few cities can move people around as safely and easily as Columbus, with six major freeways running from our outerbelt into the heart of the city. From the walkable neighborhoods surrounding our Convention and Arena districts, to the Outerbelt hotel districts, no delegate will be more than 30 minutes from the Greater Columbus Convention Center and Nationwide Arena— and thousands can be much closer. Our airport is also conveniently located just 10 minutes outside of downtown.

Adjacent to our Convention Center and Arena are two connected arts and entertainment districts. This means that just two blocks from the nomination site, your delegates can find more than 100 restaurants, bars and event facilities.


The Right Facilities

Columbus offers two realistic options for an event the size of the Republican National Convention, all in modern facilities ready to serve your needs. Columbus’ Convention Center offers more than 1 million square feet of usable space, just over one block from Nationwide Arena’s 19,500 seats (basketball setting).

In addition to convention space, we also have the meeting rooms needed for delegations and the media. The streets around Nationwide Arena also offer perfect locations for pick-up and drop-off of delegates, locations for media staging and more space for outdoor events.


A strategic testing ground for everything

There is a reason that national candidates come to Columbus, and that was shown in 2012, when the top candidates visited 77 times. That included visits by both President Obama and Governor Romney on the day before the election, the only time aside from the debates when both candidates were on the ground in the same city, and substantively mobile, during the campaign. In many ways, it is the same reason that many of the nation’s top companies test their products in Columbus. This is a city of broad tastes, styles, diversity and ideas. A microcosm of the United States itself, the swing city of the swing state is reflective of the nation in so many ways, and loves its role as a decisive intersection on the road to the White House.

...letter-example of strong support for Columbus [PDF]

Photo Credit: Experience Columbus.
"Bid books ready to go."  On Feb. 26, 2014 Columbus submitted its bid to host the 2016 Republican National Convention; the document was about 140 total pages.  Brian Ross, president and CEO of Experience Columbus, did interviews at the Experience Columbus visitor center.


November 26, 2013                                                        

Experience Columbus
Scott Peacock


Local leaders looking to bid on Democratic and Republican National Conventions

COLUMBUS, OH (Nov. 26, 2013) – Columbus 2016, a coalition of local leaders from across the political spectrum have begun to organize and explore bidding on the political conventions in 2016 for the Democratic and Republican National Committees. These events could draw as many as 45,000 people, including 15,000 international media, and could bring an estimated $150 to $200 million economic impact to Central Ohio.

“It is time for the world to see the great city we’ve built, and there is no better way to show it off than to host one of our nation’s presidential nominating conventions,” said Mayor Michael B. Coleman.

Columbus 2016 includes representatives from the City of Columbus, Columbus Partnership, Ohio Republican and Democratic Parties and Experience Columbus. Members of the organizations met over the past several months to look at what it takes to compete for the nation’s largest and most watched conventions.

“These are among the world’s greatest conventions and we are going to make sure that national leaders know that Columbus is ready to host their events and make it fun for delegates,” said Brian Ross, President and CEO of Experience Columbus. “We’ve built an excellent hospitality industry, with hotels, restaurants and entertainment venues, new parks and more, but the real key is our welcoming spirit and winning attitude.”

Cities across the country will compete, once the national parties issue requests for proposals (RFPs) in the coming months. Columbus will review both parties’ RFPs and consider if one or both fit in the area’s hotel, convention center, arena and event space package.

“Ohio hasn’t hosted a national convention in nearly 80 years, and we’ve never seen one in Columbus,” said Matt Borges, Chairman of the Ohio Republican Party. “Central Ohio continues to be a major battleground during presidential campaigns.”

In the coming months, a formal Columbus 2016 Host Committee will be appointed, representing a diverse array of local leaders from business, government, the arts, colleges, universities and community groups. This group will work with Experience Columbus to draft a formal bid, apply, and, if Columbus makes the short list, host tours for the national site selection committees.

“Columbus is a city that loves to compete and we all love welcoming presidential and vice presidential candidates during an election year,” said Chris Redfern, Ohio Democratic Party Chair. “We are proud to see Ohio’s cities stepping up as important destinations along the road to the White House.”

The selection process for both parties will go through the middle of 2014. As part of Columbus’ advocacy, local leaders will attend events with the DNC and RNC at various times in Washington, D.C. and other cities to meet the delegates and the leaders who vote on the site selection committees.

“We are collaborating to build Columbus’ brand and show off the region’s assets to the world. There is no doubt that events such as a national political convention can have a major economic impact on area businesses,” said Alex Fischer, President and CEO of the Columbus Partnership.

As the convention and visitors bureau for Ohio’s capital city, Experience Columbus’ mission is to sell, market and promote the best of the destination to visitors. For more information about all Columbus has to offer for leisure visitors, sports, meetings, conventions and trade shows, go to experiencecolumbus.com or call 800-354-2657.

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