An Exploratory Committee has concluded that Denver and the state of Colorado are capable of launching a bid to host a Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games as early as 2030 - but only if voters approve the campaign.
In a 231-page report, the Committee, chaired by IMA Financial Group chief executive Robert Cohen, warned that the whole effort would need to be privately funded and outlined a plan for a $1.8 billion (£1.3 billion/€1.5 billion) to $2.1 billion (£1.6 billion/€1.8 billion) project.
It also recommended that Denver seeks to gain voter approval in advance via a referendum to be held in 2020.
The report indicated that a "statistically valid" statewide poll, conducted by Keating Research in January 2018, found that in every region of Colorado, a majority of voters favours hosting the Winter Games, including 65 per cent in Denver, 76 per cent in Eagle County, and 61 per cent statewide.
"It is the recommendation of this Exploratory Committee that should the USOC (United States Olympic Committee) determine a need, we should bid for a future Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, with a specific focus on 2030 and beyond," the Exploratory Committee concluded.
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, an honorary chair of the Exploratory Committee, described the report as "phenomenal" and called for the public to read it.
"There’s some real innovation in this report, a real affirmation in terms of Colorado and the city of Denver's ability to host this level of event," he was reported as saying by Colorado Public Radio.
"Once the USOC has made a determination to pursue the Olympics in 2030, 2034, 2038, Denver and the state of Colorado are saying put us on the list.
"We are interested and we have a model, a financing model, that one, does not require direct investment of the taxpayer, and two, we want to go to the people of Colorado to affirm our interest in pursuing the Olympics."
Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, also an honorary chair of the Exploratory Committee, shared Hancock’s confidence that voters would approve of hosting the Winter Olympics.
"If there is a ballot initiative, my guess is that the media will get so engaged they will get the facts out," he was reported as saying by Colorado Public Radio.
"We’ll obviously have to do some work but as part of this exploratory process they had over 30,000 people that were somehow engaged in this process so the education process has already been started."
Last month, opponents of a proposed bid from Denver for the 2030 Winter Olympics and Paralympics stepped up their campaign by filing a ballot initiative to ensure the public decides whether or not taxpayers' funds are used to seek and host the event.
The "NOlympics Colorado" group held meetings with the city attorney and a representative from the City Council.
The campaigners need 4,726 signatures from verified registered Denver voters if the initiative is to appear on the ballot paper in November.
They are keen for voters to have a say as to if Denver proceeds with a bid.
NOlympics Colorado has questioned the Exploratory Committee’s findings.
"This is not at all a surprise," it said in a statement..
"Making the recommendation to go forward was a forgone conclusion with a Committee that was stacked with long-time boosters and business interests that stand to directly benefit from a massive vanity project like that.
"At the end of the day, it’s billions of dollars for a three-week event that is a proven a drain on communities - at a time when the same group of establishment politicians and business interests have continued to overlook community priorities for housing, environment, transit, and overall quality of life for the people that live here."
The Exploratory Committee has promised that the Winter Olympics would be a financially-stable event by using existing venues.
It has been reported that, outside of the $2 billion (£1.5 billion/€1.7 billion) required from the organisers, including the $925 million (£693 million/€793 million) provided by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the rest of the costs could be covered in sponsorships, ticket sales and merchandise.
Denver 2030 Exploratory Committee member Steve McConahey, a member of the group that proposed the city as the US nomination for the 1998 Winter Olympics and Paralympics, but which was overlooked in favour of Salt Lake City, claimed they would launch a new formula if they were selected.
Denver was awarded the 1976 Winter Olympics before handing them back to the IOC following a referendum called because of rising costs.
They eventually took place in Innsbruck in Austria.
Recent polls show there is public support for a Winter Olympic bid from Salt Lake City, whose officials have said that they are prepared to start a campaign at any time.
The full report can be read here.,