Draft Commission Report Says Boston 2024 Bid Could Face Challenges

According to a special draft commission report, Boston has enough hotel rooms, security expertise, and cultural cachet to host the 2024 Summer Olympic Games, but would face a challenge finding space for an 80,000-seat Olympic Stadium and a 100-acre Olympic Village.

The 11-member commission was created by Governor Deval Patrick and the state legislature to determine whether Boston could meet the basic requirements of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) for a host city.

The Boston Globe reports the panel concluded that Boston could feasibly host the 2024 Games, but would face a “monumental task” making the densely packed city easy to navigate and ready for the Games.

The report said the commission was not ultimately recommending that Boston launch a bid to host the Olympics, but urged supporters in the public and private sectors to set up a non-profit group to explore the idea further and work with the USOC on developing a bid.

John Fish, the chief executive of Suffolk Construction and leader of the commission, said the group would also need to conduct an in-depth study of the costs of hosting the Olympics, an issue that was not examined in the draft report.

He said Tuesday, “I am encouraged by the potential opportunities that can be borne out of hosting the Olympics”, but “the next question needs to be asked: is this in our best interests, socially, politically and economically?”

Fish said the draft report is being circulated among commission members, will undergo final revision this week, and is due to be released to the public Friday or Saturday.

Regarding security, the report said the region has enough local, state, and federal law enforcement officials to ensure the Games would be safe, quoting former Boston police commissioner Edward F. Davis telling the panel, “we are probably better suited than any other place in the country” to provide security for the Games.

In the report the commission acknowledged that it is an open question whether Bostonians would even want to host the Games. The report said, “the biggest concern is related to the actual cost associated with hosting – from where funding comes from to how it would be allocated”.

There is now an opposition group to a Boston Olympic bid called No Boston Olympics. The Boston Globe reports that Liam Kerr, a member of the group, said he agreed with Olympic boosters that Boston needs better housing and transportation, but he argued the Games are not a cost-effective way of tackling those projects.

He said, “we don’t need the IOC to give us a deadline for how to shape the future of our city and state”.