Subscribe

2024 Summer Olympics: Why Boston won't be the host city

The US Olympic Committee on Monday nixed Boston's bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics, just hours after Mayor Walsh said he would not 'commit' to a deal if it left city taxpayers vulnerable to the costs of hosting such a large-scale event.

  • close
    Shadows of organizers and reporters pass a video display screen prior to a news conference by organizers of Boston's campaign for the 2024 Summer Olympics in Boston, January 2015.
    Charles Krupa/AP/File
    View Caption
  • About video ads
    View Caption
of

The U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) on Monday nixed Boston's bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics, just hours after Mayor Martin Walsh said he would not "commit" to a deal if it left city taxpayers vulnerable to the costs of hosting such a large-scale event.

"We have not been able to get a majority of the citizens of Boston to support hosting the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games," said USOC CEO Scott Blackmun, in a statement.

"Therefore the USOC does not think that the level of support enjoyed by Boston's bid would allow it to prevail over great bids from Paris, Rome, Hamburg, Budapest or Toronto," it added.

The proposal made in January to put Boston forth as the United States' candidate to host the 2024 Summer Games was immediately met with skepticism, with polls showing voters intensely concerned that taxpayers would be left to foot the bill for the global event.

Massachusetts officials had wanted more time before deciding whether to back the bid, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker said hours after Mayor Walsh said he wouldn't sign the bid documents if they left city taxpayers vulnerable.

"I'm not going to question whatever decision the U.S. Olympic Committee makes," Baker told reporters. "If our time frame wasn't one that working with how the U.S. Olympic Committee was thinking about this, that's unfortunate but there's nothing we can do about it."

Backers of the bid had scrambled to assuage residents' concerns about the cost, last week unveiling a plan to carry some $2 billion in insurance that it said would cover any unanticipated costs. In total, the event's costs were estimated at more than $8.6 billion including operating and construction costs.

They said they were designing a lower-cost approach to the games in line with the International Olympic Committee's "Agenda 2020," which is intended to combat the rising spending levels that broke records during recent games in Beijing and Sochi, Russia. Russia spent some $50 billion on the 2014 Winter Games.

Walsh said he had liked the idea of hosting the games, but ultimately was not convinced it was affordable.

"No benefit is so great that it is worth handing over the financial future of our city and our citizens were rightly hesitant to be supportive as a result," Walsh said.

Just 42 percent of Boston-area respondents to a WBUR/Mass Inc poll published earlier this month said they supported the idea of hosting the games, with half against it. Three out of four respondents said they worried taxpayer funds would be required to stage the games.

Officials had backed a proposal to put the matter to voters in a ballot initiative next year, during the presidential election cycle.

"The many elected officials in Boston 2024's corner looked the other way for months, even when it became clear that Boston 2024 had been less than truthful about what it wanted from taxpayers," said Evan Falchuk, a former gubernatorial candidate who had led the drive for a ballot initiative. "What those officials couldn't ignore was the real, credible threat of a binding vote, which is what ultimately led to the USOC pulling the bid."

The No Boston Olympics lobby group, which had formed to oppose the bid, welcomed the decision on Monday.

"We need to move forward as a city, and today's decision allows us to do that on our own terms, not the terms of the USOC or the (International Olympic Committee," the group said in a statement. "We're better off for having passed on Boston 2024." (Editing by Sandra Maler)

About these ads
Sponsored Content by LockerDome
 
 
Make a Difference
Inspired? Here are some ways to make a difference on this issue.
FREE Newsletters
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.
 

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...

Save for later

Save
Cancel

Saved ( of items)

This item has been saved to read later from any device.
Access saved items through your user name at the top of the page.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You reached the limit of 20 saved items.
Please visit following link to manage you saved items.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You have already saved this item.

View Saved Items

OK