Boston 2024’s International Competition Notices Its Struggles

News reports in Rome, Paris, and Hamburg are covering the Boston 2024 committee's PR battles.

Associated Press

Photo via AP

Boston 2024, the committee pushing a bid to host the Olympic Games, has had a string of problems in recent months, and our competitor cities overseas have taken notice.

The United States Olympic Committee chose Boston back in January to compete against international cities like Paris, Hamburg, and Rome for the International Olympic Committee’s love. The IOC looks carefully at local support for the Olympic bids when making a final decision on who will host the 2024 Summer Games.

That’s concerning in Boston, where polls show that support for the Games has collapsed in recent months. It’s so concerning that the Boston 2024 committee, initially resistant to a referendum, lent their support last week to a vote in 2016. While the committee sees this as a new challenge—a deadline to get the city behind the bid—others have taken it as a sign that Boston is doomed.

“This development narrows the chance that Boston will host a Summer Olympics from unlikely to vanishingly small,” writes Kriston Capps in CityLab.

This seems to be how international newspapers are reading the news, too, where they greeted Boston 2024’s struggles as, at the very least, good news for their own odds. Germany recently selected Hamburg over Berlin as their nation’s candidate. The Der Spiegel newspaper reported news of a Boston 2024 referendum by comparing Boston’s 36 percent approval rating for the Games with Hamburg’s 65 percent support. The local Hamburger Abendblatt paper put the news under the headline “Hamburg’s Chance.”

France, which is very likely to put Paris forward as a bid to the International Olympics Committee, carried news about the developments in Boston, too. “Is Boston Already Off Course?” asked a headline in Le Figaro. And in Italy, where Rome will make a bid, La Repubblica includes Boston in a column about the Rome bid’s own critics. “Farewell to the Olympic bid?” the paper asks.

Among the reasons the international news outlets see a referendum as so potentially damning is that it is scheduled for 2016, long after the USOC needs to submit a final application to the IOC. As Le Figaro notes, if the Boston referendum goes badly, the USOC won’t be able to react to its failure by submitting a different city. Bottom line: if Boston votes no, the United States is out of the running. And that’s good news for Europe’s Olympic hopefuls.