Governor Impatient With Boston 2024 Plans

Boston is the USOC nomination for 2024 Olympic Games bid

Boston is the USOC nomination for 2024 Olympic Games bid

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, showing impatience with the progress of Boston’s bid organizers in completing a detailed plan for hosting the 2024 Summer Games, told reporters Thursday that the Boston 2024 group needs to release a plan within the next month to allow enough time for public discussion of the bid.

The Associated Press reports that Baker noted the group faces a mid-September deadline to formally notify the International Olympic Committee (IOC) of the city’s bid, with a formal presentation (an application questionnaire response) due to the IOC due in January.

He stopped short of suggesting that the bid would not be submitted should expectations not be met.

Baker said, “if you work the clock back from when the final presentation has to be made and you allow an appropriate time for the public to vet this issue, I think it’s important that sometime soon there will be a plan that people can review and then discuss”.

Boston 2024 head Richard Davey said, “we’ve been working really hard on the detailed plan”, and that the group expected to release a revised plan next month that will include specific details on key items such as the Olympic stadium and the athletes’ village, as well as other smaller venues where events could be held if Boston hosts the Games.

The IOC requires preliminary plan information as part of the first phase of their bid evaluation, in the form of a formal response to a questionnaire that will be distributed to the bid cities.  The response will be analyzed and scored by an IOC working group that will recommend a short list of final candidates to the IOC Executive Board in April or May, 2016.  Early in 2017 during the second phase, a more comprehensive plan will be required by the IOC ahead of on-site inspections.

Bid plans often change significantly between the two phases based on IOC feedback and more development by the bid committee.

The governor and legislative leaders have announced plans to hire an outside consultant to independently analyze the bid and advise state government on whether the effort could place an unfair burden on taxpayers.  Baker indicated Thursday that a consultant would be named shortly.

Boston 2024 Olympic Bid Depiction (Source: Boston 2024)

Boston 2024 Olympic Bid Depiction (Source: Boston 2024)

Meanwhile, due to the increasing public pressure, the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) Thursday reluctantly released the previously unpublished Host City Agreement template for the 2020 Olympic Games that was to be signed by Tokyo in 2013 when that city was elected in Buenos Aires.

Patrick Sandusky, USOC chief communications and public affairs officer explained:

“This template for the 2020 Host City Contract was provided to the cities bidding for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

“The United States Olympic Committee subsequently offered it to the Boston 2024 Partnership as a point of reference in deciding whether to bid for the 2024 Games.

“Because the template was created prior to the adoption of Olympic Agenda 2020, it is not a reliable model for the 2024 Host City Contract, and for that reason we asked that it be maintained in confidence. However, due to ongoing interest and because template contracts for other Games are publicly available, the document is now posted…”

Agenda 2020, a set of 40 reforms approved by the IOC late last year, will have some impact on the Host City Contracts for 2022, 2024 and beyond – but likely not significantly.  There were no major surprises in the 2020 document that weren’t generally known elsewhere.

The USOC selected Boston ahead of Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington D.C. in January as the U.S. bid city for the 2024 Olympics. A statewide binding referendum is likely to be held in November 2016 as public opinion polls have shown significant opposition to the bid and the possible risks it presents.

The IOC is scheduled to select a host city for the 2024 Games in 2017, with Rome, Paris, Hamburg and Budapest among other likely contenders.