By Barry Janoff
July 27, 2015: Boston, which seven months ago topped Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington D.C. in securing the U.S. Olympic Committee's approval to represent the U.S. in a potential bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics, is no longer being considered for the spot.
On Monday, the USOC and people representing Boston jointly ended efforts to have the Massachusetts capital and state's largest city move ahead in the bidding process.
Two significant and interlocking hurdles among numerous challenges that arose in negotiations between the USOC and the Boston 2024 bid committee were a lack of support from a majority of people in and around Boston and a question as to how much money would be spent and where the money would come from to stage the Games.
Among the cities that have committed or said they plan to submit bids are Paris, Budapest, Rome, Hamburg, Toronto and Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan.
“We have not been able to get a majority of the citizens of Boston to support hosting the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games,” Scott Blackmun, CEO for the USOC, said in a statement. “Therefore, the USOC does not think that the level of support enjoyed by Boston’s bid would allow it to prevail over great bids from Paris, Rome, Hamburg, Budapest or Toronto.”
“As we reflected on the timing and the status of our bid in this international competition, we have jointly come to the conclusion that the extensive efforts required in Boston at this stage of the bid process would detract from the U.S. ability to compete against strong interest from cities like Rome, Paris, Budapest and Hamburg,” Boston 2024 chairman Steve Pagliuca said in a statement.
The rift between the USOC and Boston was spotlighted by Mayor Martin Walsh, who Monday morning declined to sign a contract with the USOC.
“This is me letting the taxpayers of Boston know where we stand on the Olympic bid and where we stand on the guarantee — that I will not sign a document that puts one dollar of taxpayers’ money on the line for one penny of overruns for the Olympics," Martin said during a media conference. "I refuse to mortgage the future of the city away. This is a commitment that I can’t make without ensuring the city and its residents will be protected.”
In order to be considered, cities and nations must officially submit bids to the International Olympic Committee by Sept. 15.
The IOC said it plans to name a host city for the 2024 Summer Olympics in 2017.
Should the USOC continue with plans to submit a bid to the IOC, Los Angeles is considered the favorite by analysts and Olympic experts to replace Boston as the U.S. representative. Los Angeles hosted the Summer Games in 1932 and 1984, and currently is hosting the World Games Special Olympics 2015, which includes some 6,500 athletes and 2,000 coaches representing 165 nations, with an anticipated fan turnout of 500,000 at venues throughout the area.
"Boston 2024 has expressed confidence that, with more time, they could generate the public support necessary to win the bid and deliver a great Games," Blackmun said in his statement. "They also recognize, however, that we are out of time if the USOC is going to be able to consider a bid from another city. As a result, we have reached a mutual agreement to withdraw Boston’s bid to host the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games."
According to Blackmun, "The USOC would very much like to see an American city host the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2024. We will immediately begin to explore whether we can do so on a basis consistent with our guiding principles, to which we remain firmly committed. We understand the reality of the timeline that is before us. We will brief the media on our progress towards a decision later in August, and we will not have any public statements on the subject of a possible bid until then."
On its Web site, the Southern California Committee for the Olympic Games, which represented Los Angeles in the bidding process with the USOC last year that ultimately saw Boston being selected, states on its mission page, "SCCOG has renewed its efforts to bring sports championships of all kinds to Southern California, to support the Olympic Movement in all ways, and to stand ready for Los Angeles to host the Olympic Games at the earliest opportunity."
"The USOC would very much like to see an American city host the Olympic Games in 2024. We will immediately begin to explore whether we can do so."
"At this time, my office has not had conversations with the United States Olympic Committee," Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement after news of Boston's unsuccessful bid was revealed. "I continue to believe that Los Angeles is the ideal Olympic city and we have always supported the USOC in their effort to return the Games to the United States. I would be happy to engage in discussions with the USOC about how to present the strongest and most fiscally responsible bid on behalf of our city and nation." -
As recently as July 16, Boston 2024 was much more optimistic about the situation.
“We’re grateful for the USOC’s continued partnership, full support and active participation,” Pagliuca, said in a partnership. “During today’s meetings, we shared details of our progress and our continued engagement with the community to ensure that Boston hosting the Games delivers legacy benefits that will enrich our region and the Olympic movement for years to come. Our collaboration with Mayor Walsh and with the USOC reflects the strengths of partnership across the board and the collaborative approach we’re taking to bring the Games back to the U.S., right here in Boston.”
However, polls showed less enthusiasm from people in the region. A survey conducted by Boston-based The Mass/NC Polling Group in early July related that while 40% supported hosting the 2024 Games, 53% were opposed and 7% were indifferent. The USOC has stated that it looks for a majority of support from those in the host city.
The last Summer Olympics held in the U.S. were the 1996 event in Atlanta, the last Winter Games were 2002 in Salt Lake City. New York and Chicago lost their bids to host the 2012 and 2016 Summer Games, respectively, during the official IOC voting process. The 2012 Games were in London and the 2016 Games will be played in Rio de Janeiro.
The last Olympics in North American were the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver.
Marketing partners will continue to monitor the situation. The IOC's global partners include Atos, Bridgestone, Coca-Cola, Dow, General Electric, McDonald's, Omega, Panasonic, Procter & Gamble, Samsung, Toyota and Visa.
Top USOC partners include 24 Hour Fitness, Anheuser-Busch (Budweiser), AT&T, BMW, BP, Chobani, Citi, Dick's, The Hartford, Hilton, Kellogg's, Liberty Mutual, Nike, TD Ameritrade and United Airlines.
NBC currently has exclusive broadcast rights in the U.S. through 2032.
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