Read the Commission’s Report About Hosting the Olympics in Boston
A special commission formed by the state legislature and Governor Deval Patrick, tasked with figuring out if Boston could ultimately handle carrying the Olympic torch in 2024, finally released its findings in a lengthy report.
The more than 40-page document, compiled by the Special Commission Relative to the Feasibility of Hosting the Summer Olympics in the Commonwealth, said it’s important to keep in mind both the positives and negatives of hosting the games in 2024, if there is a potential for a bid, but ultimately hypothesized that the state “fares comparatively well” when considering the guidelines set forth by the International Olympics Committee.
“It would be feasible to host the 2024 Summer Olympic Games,” the report said. “However, should the region move forward with a bid, it must be noted that it is a monumental task that is not to be taken lightly.”
The report is not a means of whether to recommend that the city seek a bid through the United States Olympic Committee, but rather a guide to “further detailed analysis or planning.”
“I don’t think anyone should jump to the conclusion that we’re going to be hosting the 2024 Olympics. I think what we have to do we have to undertake a thorough analysis of the costs and benefits that can be produced out of hosting this Olympics,” John Fish, the CEO of Suffolk Construction who chaired the commission, told the Statehouse News Service.
The document, which broke down the commission’s findings into different sections based on security measures, budgetary details, marketing efforts, infrastructure needs, and the legacy hosting the weeks-long competition would leave on Boston, said some of the biggest challenges would be finding suitable vendor locations for the Olympic Stadium and Athletes’ Village, and addressing subway and transportation woes.
However, they said those two major concerns would not prohibit the games from being a viable option in Boston. Instead, the commission concluded, it would provide city and state officials with a rare opportunity to use the Olympics as an excuse to improve roadways, MBTA facilities, and buildings that would benefit the region in the long-term.
“To this end, the Commission encourages a continued discussion on hosting the Olympics,” the group wrote.
They recommended that talks about the Olympics continue in the form of a non-profit group made up of public, private, and academic professionals to gauge a more comprehensive understanding of what a potential bid would mean, by working closely with the USOC to develop a strategy.
The report does not include a cost estimate for hosting the games, but an independent review conducted by a group called “No Boston Olympics” put the price tag of having the sporting event in the Bay State at roughly $10 to $20 billion. “Whatever we think we have to gain by staging the Olympics here is not backed up by any economic data, or the experience in other cities,” said Chris Dempsey, cofounder of No Boston Olympics. “Let’s play Moneyball instead of throwing a three-week party.”
Past Olympics in other host cities have cost municipalities upwards of $7 to $15 billion.
Officials from the USOC have already visited Boston to talk about why the city could be a good fit for a bid in the summer of 2024. They are expected to decide whether or not to submit a formal bid to the International Olympics Committee by 2015. Boston would be one contender among several major U.S. cities if a proposition were put on the table for serious consideration.
Below are excerpts from the commission’s report, broken down by category:
Economic Development, Venues, and Infrastructure:
- The state has many venues suitable for various Olympic events.
- An Olympic Village, Velodrome, Aquatics Center, and Olympic Stadium would need to be built.
- Serious transportation issues would need to be addressed.
- Based upon the existing and planned number of hotel rooms within the Greater Boston area, it is possible today to feasibly meet the Olympics hospitality requirements.
Marketing and Public Outreach:
- Massachusetts has proven to be an excellent host for national and international events in the past, and tourism is the third largest industry in the state.
- The Olympics has the potential to not only bring in more revenue from tourists, but also raise the profile of Boston, the Commonwealth, and the region.
- Boston would be able to showcase the achievements of its students, promote internationalism and cultural diversity, and highlight its proud heritage and culture to the world.
- The influx of domestic and international visitors for the Games would likely boost business for the state’s airports, hotels, restaurants, and civic attractions.
Safety and Security:
- Massachusetts is distinctively qualified to support large-scale coordinated events like the Olympics.
- Overall, Massachusetts has excellent public safety and security forces and a strong ability to coordinate on a local, state, and national level.
- Experts say Massachusetts is likely the best qualified in the United States to provide Olympics-level coordination of safety and security.
- Based upon the preliminary findings and discussions, there were no unique security challenges that were identified for Boston or the region. As a leading US city that has hosted a number of major events, Boston has demonstrated its ability to manage security and respond to serious events when they do occur.
- Regardless of whether or not Boston bids for the 2024 Summer Games, over the next decade Boston and the Commonwealth must and will address the demands that a growing economy and population place on cities and states.
- The unique alignment of existing public policy initiatives and economic development plans for the region, state, and city, and the opportunity for public-private partnerships, all advance the likelihood that an Olympic Games could have a lasting positive and meaningful impact on Boston and the Commonwealth.
- Host cities like London used the Olympics as an opportunity to catalyze development and revitalize certain areas.
- London was the first Games whereby the 8 major sporting facilities had a legacy plan for continued use beyond the Olympics, and Boston could learn from that example.