Boston Olympics

It seems that Boston will be the US nominee for the 2024 Olympics:

Scott Blackmun, USOC chief executive, said the decision was “gut-wrenching” for the panel, but that Boston came out on top in part due to the business people and elected officials who drove the effort.

“One of the great things about the Boston bid was that the bid leadership and the political leadership were on the same page,” Blackmun said, in an exclusive Globe interview at the Denver airport.

The commission also liked Boston’s strong sports culture, and the opportunity to create an Olympic legacy in a new city, he said.

This part seems a little backwards:

City, state, and Olympic officials have scheduled a press conference in Boston at 8:30 a.m. on Friday, where they are expected to outline the next steps in the process. The organizing group must in coming months fill in the details of bare-bones Olympic venue and transportation plans, galvanize public support, and convince a chorus of skeptics that Boston can effectively pull off the world’s most prestigious international sports festival — without relying on taxpayers’ money — a mere nine years from now.

Boston 2024 organizers have promised to hold extensive public hearings around the city this year as the bid becomes more defined.

Shouldn’t they have the public hearings before they made the bid? Well, the people pushing this are mostly CEO types so they probably don’t think about those type of things.

The Boston Globe put together some things to think about:

Boston doesn’t have a large stadium or an aquatic center or a velodrome (for biking), and these are three of the most expensive Olympic facilities. What is more, finding places for them could be just as challenging as raising the money. For example, while there has been talk of building an Olympic stadium at Widett Circle, off I-93 south of downtown Boston, there’s already a meat and seafood wholesaler business at that spot whose owners don’t seem eager to sell.

That’s what eminent domain is for right?

Recent Olympic games have tended to cost at least $15 billion, and sometimes far more.

And in virtually every case, final costs vastly exceed the initial estimates.

While the Olympic Games do generate some revenue — from ticket sales, advertising, and TV rights — it’s not usually enough to cover the full cost. “Boston 2024 partnership” has said that Massachusetts taxpayers would not have to make up the difference, but for now there’s no plan to ensure that.

A lot depends on how you think about the $13 billion in already-approved transportation funding. Ultimately, that’s taxpayer money, so diverting some of it to pay for Olympics-related infrastructure — like a stadium — should probably count as public funding. But it’s also possible to argue that since that money has already been authorized, it’s not really a new taxpayer expense.

If money goes to buy a stadium instead of upgrades for the T, that obviously should count as public funding.

Here’s something else to consider:

Chicago’s failed Olympic pursuit five years ago cost more than $70 million, included endorsements from President Obama, Oprah Winfrey and Michael Jordan, and culminated in embarrassment when the IOC dismissed the U.S. bid early in its selection process despite a personal appeal from both the president and First Lady.

This could get expensive even if Boston only bids for the Olympics.

In general I like the Olympics but they really have jumped the shark with the Beijing and Sochi Olympics–those were both obviously chosen purely for monetary reasons (that’s why there are only two bids for the 2022 winter Olympics, no one else wanted them; also, given how they lied to get the summer Olympics, China should not be getting the Olympics again). The IOC claims they’ve changed, but I still think that the group No Boston Olympics is winning the argument.

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