Why I would say “yes” to Boston 2024
There has been a lot said about “transparency” in regard to Boston’s bid to host the 2024 summer games. Some say there has been too little public discussion on whether or not this is a good idea for the city and it’s neighborhoods.
There is a reason for the lack of discussion. Boston is is one of four cities vying for the US bid, and until we know who wins the preliminaries, it doesn’t make much sense to debate the pros and cons.
At this point it would be like Bill Belichick handing his playbook to the Patriots next opponent.
The United States Olympic Committee will hear and consider four proposals next week in Colorado Springs. Boston’s competition is LA, San Francisco, and Washington DC. If Boston wins this round, the city still has to compete with the rest of the world for the better part of two years to secure the international bid.
That will leave plenty of time for debate.
I believe Boston is the best choice of the four contenders. And since transparency is the name of the game these days, I must make full disclosure.
I am an Olympian. I have covered a number of Olympics as a member of the media. I have been reporting sports in Boston for over 25 years. I grew up in Michigan, skated in the Olympics, then came to Boston to go to college (BC) and never left. Olympic spirit is a real thing to me, and I want Boston to play host to the world.
With that said, here are my top ten reasons Boston should host the 2024 Summer Games.
1.Boston is the world’s greatest sports city.
Name another American city with more passionate sports fans than Boston. You could make an argument for Chicago or Philadelphia, but they don’t count in this debate because they are not in the running for a bid.
2. Boston has the business backing.
These games are expected to cost in the area of 4.5 billion dollars, and it will be funded entirely by private money. Yes, this is possible – just ask Los Angeles which wrote the blue print in 1984. The business people involved with the Boston bid can raise the needed funds. The television rights alone from NBC are worth 1.5 billion. WIth the addition of sponsorships and ticket sales, the cost of the Games is clearly doable without public funding.
3. Colleges and Universities
Gillette Stadium, TD Garden and the World Trade Center are lined up to hold the largest crowds. Beyond that there are over 100 institutions of higher learning in the Boston area. A number of them already have pledged their support to provide venues. Imagine field hockey at Harvard Stadium. Tufts University already has plans for building a world class aquatics center. Early round soccer could be played at BC’s Alumni Stadium and BU’s Nickerson Field.
The Massachusetts legislature already has approved 13 billion dollars for upgrades of the MBTA and Commuter Rail. If Boston gets the Olympics, the effort to get these projects done will be accelerated. In other words, unlike the Big Dig they won’t take 20 years to complete.
The extra facilities that will be built (with private money) will provide much needed, additional affordable housing units after the Games for many Boston neighborhoods. This is a major reason our new mayor Marty Walsh has publicly stated he is behind the effort to bring the Olympics to Boston.
6. White Elephants not allowed.
Just like London did in 2012, the plan for Boston is to build an Olympic Stadium that would be dismantled at the end of the Games. Right now, one of London’s venues is on it’s way to Rio where it will be re-assembled for the Summer Games in 2016. The plan in Boston is for the Olympic Stadium to be built at Widett Circle, which is now a tow lot. Spectators would walk from South Station to the stadium on a “promenade” – again, built with private money. There will be facilities that exist now on college campuses that will be improved and expanded. These venues will turn into Olympic training centers which will attract the best coaches and athletes in the world.
7. Public Transportation
Organizers already have said, “the city will become the Olympic Village.” This is because Boston is a walkable city from the Seaport to Newbury Street.. If spectators can’t walk to the event, the refurbished T will shuttle them around with extended lines north, south and west of the city.
Parking won’t be an issue because there won’t be any. The committee has vowed not to build any parking structures in conjunction with these Games. It is expected that people will get into and around the city by Mass Transit, and many will simply walk to the events.
If you have never attended an Olympic Games, you will be in for a treat – and you don’t even need a ticket. Every inch of our city will be in full celebration for an event that represents every corner of our world. As someone who has been there four times, I can tell you the spirit – and the party – that surrounds the Games is a good one. As for safety, Homeland Security and the federal government will be responsible for the lion’s share of it.
Boston is already well known as a city rich in history, culture, academics, and first class medical facilities. After the Marathon bombings in 2013, the world learned about our resilience and strength. The Olympics is a chance to showcase what makes us one of the best cities on the planet. After the 2012 Games, tourism revenues in London increased by nearly 1 billion dollars, surpassing perrenial favorite Paris as Europe’s most visited city.
Debate will be part of the process, and it should be. With that said, I am “all in!”
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