Opposition Arises for Boston’s 2024 Olympic Bid

With the organizers behind Boston’s Olympic bid already in talks with Massachusetts state legislators, serious opposition against the costly three-week-long games have come to voice.

Among those voices are No Boston Olympics, a group firmly opposed to Boston’s Olympic bid.

Photo courtesy of No Boston Olympics / Facebook

Photo courtesy of No Boston Olympics / Facebook

“No Boston Olympics is a group of volunteer Bostonians who think there are better ways to invest public resources than throwing a three-week party,” the organization affirms on its website.  “Let’s return our civic conversation back to the ideas that have made Massachusetts great.”     

Estimated to cost $4.5 billion, the 2024 Boston Olympic Games would divert government funds and attention away from other sectors in need, such as education and infrastructure.

“An Olympic bidding process would overwhelm our civic conversation,” No Boston Olympics co-chair Chris Dempsey stated in a letter to Massachusetts Governor-elect Charlie Baker.  “Instead of supporting today’s innovation economy, we’ll be fixated on three weeks of events nine years away.”

While the initial price of $4.5 billion is expected to be paid for by the private sector, and offset by $1.2 billion in expected broadcast revenue and sponsor contributions, Dan O’Connel, president of the Boston 2024 Partnership, noted that the estimated price does not include the price of public infrastructure and could be higher than expected.

“Massachusetts taxpayers…would end up paying the price when the cost of hosting the games goes over initial estimates, as every Olympics since 1960 has done,” Aaron Leibowitz, a representative of No Boston Olympics, expressed in response to questions posed by The Gavel.  “The city lacks the four most expensive structures to play host: a 60,000-seat Olympic stadium, an Olympic Village, a velodrome, and an aquatics center.”

Despite such large public investments and allocations of space that come with a successful Olympic bid, there have been no meaningful public conversations held about the games.

“It is unclear where these structures would be built or how they would be used after the party is over,” Leibowitz began, “Partly because the boosters behind the Games have decided to hold all their meetings behind closed doors."

Photo courtesy of Boston 2024 Organizing Committee / Facebook

Photo courtesy of Boston 2024 Organizing Committee / Facebook

“Even claims that the Olympics will boost long-term economic growth and increase tourism have been disproven,” Leibowitz added, debunking the widespread notion that the Olympics would be beneficial for Massachusetts’ economy in the long run.  “Numerous independent studies by economists have revealed that hosting the Olympics does not pay off for the hosts economically. In Vancouver, tourism actually decreased before and during the Games.”

“We think Boston Globe sports columnist Bob Ryan has the right idea about the Olympics: ‘They’re great.  Somewhere else,’” Leibowitz remarked in closing.

Despite the vocal opposition, Boston legislators have begun to warm up to the prospect of the Olympic Games following recent talks.

The committee responsible for deciding the US bid, from among Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington D.C., could announce its choice as early as January 2015.  The International Olympic Committee will choose the host in 2017.

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