The Boston Olympics Aren’t Getting Any More Popular
The MBTA might be up and running, but the Boston 2024 Olympic Games are not getting any more popular around these parts. Just 36 percent of Boston-area respondents to a new WBUR poll supported the idea of hosting the games, while 52 percent opposed it.
The Boston 2024 committee notes that it has a lot of time to convince residents, but so far the trend is not in their favor. Back in January, support stood at 51 percent. By February, it was at 42 percent, perhaps because the city’s failing transit infrastructure suggested to some that the town might not deal well with the strain. But even as the MBTA has bounced back, the memory of its inaction has lingered. The committee has faced other challenges, too. Questions about the amount it would pay consultants prompted Gov. Deval Patrick to forego his $7,500 per diem for any work he does as an ambassador for the games, Patrick announced today.
The stakes are high if the Boston 2024 committee can’t change many minds. In a recent story, the Los Angeles Times laid out the challenge:
Denver gave up hosting rights for the 1976 Winter Games when Colorado voters said no in a referendum. Referendums in Munich, Germany, and Krakow, Poland, led those two cities to opt out of bidding for the 2022 Winter Games.
And even if Boston itself doesn’t vote on the issue, the International Olympic Committee won’t like signs that it isn’t welcome among a host city’s residents. Still, the Boston committee has time to make its case. The IOC won’t make its final selection until 2017. The Boston organizers seem to know this, as it sent out a press release Thursday under the headline “We’re just getting started!”
“After one of our worst ever winters, we know that we need to be out across the city and the state over the forthcoming days, weeks and months to build support and make the case that the 2024 Games would leave an extremely positive legacy for generations to come,” Boston 2024 CEO Rich Davey says in the release.
Maybe so, but the committee has two years or convincing to do first.