Boston tries to win support for 2024 Olympics bid

Agence France-Presse
Boston tries to win support for 2024 Olympics bid
The organizing committee updated their plans with an emphasis on what lasting benefits hosting the Summer Games in 9 years could have on the city

BOSTON, United States – Boston 2024 Olympic bid officials unveiled a revamped proposal on Monday, trying to rally support from skeptical taxpayers fearful of being stuck for the costs of the global sports festival.

With polls suggesting more opposition than backing for the idea of hosting the Olympics, the organizing committee updated their plans with an emphasis on what lasting benefits hosting the Summer Games in 9 years could have on the city, including 8,000 new privately-funded apartment units and publically-financed transportation projects.

“The bottom line is that while no project is ever completely without risk, our fact-based analysis shows that the Games represent historic economic development opportunities that we may not see again,” said Steve Pagliuca, chairman of the Boston 2024 Partnership.

“There is no scenario in which this kind of infrastructure investment, this level of job creation, or this degree of revenue generation otherwise occurs on a similar timetable.”

Olympic Bid 2.0 revealed a new budget with $4.8 billion in total projected revenues, with sponsorships, ticket sales, television rights and licensing among the profitable areas.

The budget features $4.595 billion in projected expenses and a $210 million surplus and contingency fund, to be tapped in case of higher expenses or smaller revenues than expectations.

Organizers plan to spend $128 million on insurance premiums to safeguard against lost revenues and cancellation, what they say is the highest insurance level ever proposed for an Olympic bid, though rising costs make that largely a function of keeping bid insurance structures up to date.

Boston would go beyond a Chicago 2016 Olympic bid plan that, among other insurances, called for $475 million in spending on event cancellation risks such as war or terrorism, natural disasters, electricity outages and diseases.

Organizers say that venues and event operations would be handled entirely with private funding but are asking taxpayers to spend $555 million in subway improvements, some of which they say would be needed even without Boston hosting the Olympics.

The plan would transform Widett Circle into the site of the temporary 69,000-seat Olympic stadium in 2024 and by 2030 have the area renovated into a new neighborhood dubbed “Midtown.”

The Athletes Village at Columbia Point would provide 17,000 beds for competitors during the Olympics and afterwards become a new neighborhood.

Tax revenues from both areas would grow as the neighborhoods expanded some 50 years after the Olympics, organizers said, as well as provide lasting jobs beyond those that would come from Games staging and construction projects.

Organizers hope to sell 9.1 million tickets, 900,000 more than were sold at London 2012, in part because of the new sports of golf and rugby sevens and also because they would use a regional preliminary round to other areas in the northeastern United States for baseball, basketball and football/soccer resulting in 1.4 million tickets sold.

There is a September deadline for official applications to the International Olympic Committee, which will select a 2024 host in 2017. –

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