The Modern Olympic Games is a pre-eminent international sporting event in which thousands of athletes from over 200 countries compete and participate. The first modern Olympics took place in Athens, in 1896. Since 1994, the Summer Olympics and Winter Olympics are being held separately. The International Olympic Committee ( IOC), a Swiss-based, international non-profit , non-governmental body, organizes the Olympic Games every four years.
The Bidding Process
The IOC decides the country where the Olympics would be held through a bidding process. The bidding process starts with the invitation phase, where the IOC invites applications from interested National Olympic Committees (NOCs) to bid ten years before the commencement of the Olympic Games. The IOC members do the election of the host city within the next two years. The host city thus has seven full years to plan for the prestigious event being staged. The bidding process for the 2024 Olympic Games is currently under way. Offers can be sent to the IOC between 15 January 2015 and 15 September (Swidey, 2015).
Boston has been chosen by the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) as the candidate city to host the 2024 Olympic Games. Boston was chosen ahead of Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington, DC, as far as the United States’ official 2024 Olympic bid is concerned. John Fish, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Suffolk Construction, is President of the Boston organizing team 2024. The unit boasts of many other experienced people from all walks of life, including former Olympians.
The IOC will announce the final selection of the host city in 2017. Meanwhile, Boston will be partnering with USOC and collaborating with the local community to develop its bid and bring it to the IOC in December 2016. The funds required for all of this research will be funded privately.
Benefits for Boston
Boston’s hosting of the 2024 Olympic Games would profit in several respects.
The city is scheduled to celebrate its 400th anniversary in 2030. Preparing and improving infrastructure for the 2024 Olympics will also play a crucial role in realizing the city’s dream for the historic year 2030. The 2024 Boston Olympic Games organizing committee has categorically confirmed that the event is committed to the city’s future (Kamp and Futterman, 2015). The Vision of Boston 2024 is to create a better future for all stakeholders. The main economic benefits of hosting the Games are listed below.
In Boston the Games will build several jobs. Some of the works will be direct. For example, employment of people for building up new stadiums or renovating existing ones, building roads, railways, and other infrastructure. At the same time, the event will create indirect jobs. Many other sectors of the economy like hotels, aviation will witness an increase in demand. Whenever such an event takes place, there is a general increase in overall business activity in the area. Many local businesses will render their services for the successful conduct of the Games. Many summer jobs and student internships will also be offered throughout the year. Likewise, when international tourists visit Boston during the games, they will stay, eat, and shop and thereby benefit local businesses. It is estimated that 70,000 jobs were created for the residents during the London 2012 Olympic Games (Boston 2024, 2015).
Boston 2024 intends to launch a massive, privately funded marketing campaign. The marketing is likely to increase in-bound tourism in the city. Before the commencement of the actual Olympic Games, there will be conventions and conferences in Boston. Thus the benefits will start accruing to the town shortly. The inbound tourism in London has increased by 6 percent after the 2012 Games. These additional tourists reportedly spend an additional $1 billion in London every year (Boston 2024, 2015).
Building Brand Boston
The Olympic Games will be broadcast live in many parts of the world. It is estimated that images of important areas like waterfront and universities of Boston will be seen by millions of people globally. This will help build Boston as a global brand and attract foreign investment and talent to the city. The 1992 Summer Games proved to be a boon for Barcelona. It has become one of the world’s leading convention sites and attracts 7.5 million visitors annually (Boston 2024, 2015).
The infrastructure development, like housing and transit improvement, will benefit Boston in the long-run. The Athlete’s Village will be constructed with the help of new modular construction techniques. After the Games are over, this village will serve the purpose of affordable housing. Boston’s bid is unique in the sense that the city aims to utilize the existing facilities in universities and colleges for the Games. Experts say that these educational institutions will be able to attract alumni donations once they are official venues of the Olympic Games (Hersh, 2015).
Hosting the Event
The hosting of the event will require careful planning of various aspects that are discussed below:
Boston will avoid spending money on building permanent facilities that cannot be used after the Games are over. Close to half of the venues will use existing facilities while two-fifth will use temporary facilities. The money will be spent on building permanent new facilities only at 10 percent of the media. The city as a whole will serve as the Olympic Park. 28 of the 33 venues planned to be used for the Games are within a 10-kilometer radius (Springer, 2015).
As per the present proposal, Boston will build a temporary Olympic Stadium at Widett Circle. The Opening and Closing Ceremonies will be held at this venue. The track and field events will also be held at the temporary stadium. The stadium will be built by firms that specialize in temporary construction and modular manufacturing. Different parts of the stadium, like grandstands, seats, and railings, will be reused at different venues from time to time. An area of 80-acres has been earmarked for the temporary stadium. After the structure is dismantled, the site will be used for varied purposes like hotels (7, 20,000 square feet), residential area (3,975, 000 square feet), retail space (8, 70,000 square feet) and office space (1, 550, 000 square feet). Overall, this site will be redeveloped into a residential-focused neighborhood (Clauss, 2015).
This is the initial plan and is subject to change. The changes in the proposals will be made after the public opinion is gathered and analyzed by the organizers. The other offers that have been put forth but are subject to change depending on the response of the residents include Olympic Stadium in Seaport District (East End), boxing at Rocky Marciano Stadium (Brockton), and soccer at Fenway Park. The organizers have also suggested athlete accommodation for Cruise ships.
Boston 2024 claims with the new and planned facilities it will accommodate crowds from the Olympics and Paralympics. The new building will be made accessible by disabled persons as allowed by law (Boston 2024, 2015).
Boston had made considerable progress in building and upgrading its transportation services. The Central Artery Project, the extension at Logan Airport, and the cleaning up of the Boston Harbor are some positive developments. These alone may not be sufficient for hosting the mega-event but can be regarded as baby steps in the right direction.
With close to 800 domestic flights and more than 100 international flights every day, Logan International Airport handled 30 million passengers in 2013. The Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) is committed to pump in the requisite capital and upgrade the airport to meet the increased demand during the mega-event (Boston 2024, 2015).
The city plans to upgrade add Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) Red and Orange Line Cars. The expansion of South Station and Green Line is also on the cards. The plan includes extending rail service to connect the Back Bay and Boston Convention and Exhibition Center (Boston 2024, 2015).
The transit facilities will be enhanced to provide accessibility to the games. These facilities will also offer a flawless changeover to the Paralympic Game and increase the attention and attendance at these Games.
The administration will also augment the biking infrastructure in the city. By 2024, Boston aims to add 100 miles of bicycle network to its existing system of 120 miles.
Locals and tourists will be encouraged to travel by bicycle during the games. It is noteworthy to mention that Boston’s Hubway is the fifth-largest bike-sharing system in the United States. Hubway provides 1300 bikes at 130 stations, which will be used during the Olympic Games (Boston 2024, 2015).Overall, the Games will catalyze improving public transportation and overall infrastructure development.
Funding of Boston 2024 Games
The budgetary requirement for the 2024 Boston Olympic Games is estimated to be $4.7 billion. It is noteworthy to mention that the taxpayer’s money will not be used to fund these Games. First, the entire budget of the Games will be privately funded. Financial resources will be raised through broadcast revenues, corporate sponsorships, and ticket sales. Countries like the UK and China are known to support such international events. These countries have built new neighborhoods and expanded cities while hosting the Olympic Games, leading to massive cost overruns. Boston 2024, however, intends to adopt strict fiscal discipline and maximize sponsorship revenue for the Games. The Salt Lake Games in 2002, Atlanta Olympics in 1996, and the 1984 LA Summer Games generated net positive inflows. Boston 2024 hopes to replicate that feat (Boston 2024, 2015). As a precautionary measure, the organizers contemplate taking multiple layers of insurance to protect the city from any kind of financial problems. In case the Boston Games earn operating profits, the corpus will be used to make sports more available to children across the Commonwealth at a reasonable cost.
The Salt Lake City 2002 Winter Games earned a profit of $100 million. Out of this amount, 60 percent of the money was repaid to the public. This money had earlier been used to build the Olympic Park. The rest of the 40 percent was contributed to the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation (Boston 2024, 2015). This foundation supports youth sports and maintains world-class athletic facilities in the region.
The Boston 2024 Olympics will provide a safe and secure environment for the athletes, audiences, and locals. The organizers plan to use technologically advanced communication techniques rather than physical security to protect the players. The security aspects have been kept in mind while selecting the sites and locations where different competitions will be held. The overall security arrangements will be made after consulting public safety agencies operating in Boston as well as the Federal Government. At present, the organizers of Boston 2024 are receiving advice from other organizers who have successfully managed such international sporting events in the past.
The Broader Perspective
The Boston 2024 Games will provide benefits to the Commonwealth and New England in addition to the Greater Boston area. Some of the visitors will stay in neighboring places like Cambridge, Brookline, and Newton. There will be a general increase in economic activity in these areas as well. The tourists may rent space from the locals or commercial hotels, making them cash-rich.
It is noteworthy to mention that besides the period of the Olympic Games, athletes from all over the world will come months in advance for training purposes. They will rent accommodations and training facilities throughout the region. The tourists and athletes can be encouraged to stay back after the Games and encouraged to visit other cities of Massachusetts. Events like mountain biking and canoeing will be held outside the city limits. The areas where these activities are to take place will also see the growth of infrastructure. People from different nationalities, ages, races, and socio-economic backgrounds participate in the Olympic Games. Boston 2024 also promises to engage people from diverse ethnic backgrounds, women, and minority-owned businesses that will supply goods or render other services for the Games.
Disadvantages of Hosting the Olympic Games
There are certain disadvantages to hosting the Olympic Games. The biggest negative consequence is not being able to organize the games properly. If the tourists or athletes are not satisfied, they will spread negative word-of-mouth publicity. The media is ruthless, and all the lapses will be highlighted in the news. This bad word will spoil the future tourism for the city. Hosting the Olympic Games is expensive. In case the revenue generated is not enough, it can render the city bankrupt. There is a possibility that there may be no increase in tourism. All the long-term benefits remain on paper. If everything goes well so far as the Games are concerned, people will feel happy and take pride in the accomplishment. This feeling, too, will fade away in a couple of months (Bednar, 2015).
Last but not least, some advertisers may not find it worthwhile to sponsor the Games. There were 600 sponsors in the Montreal Games. The lesser established businesses just got lost in the crowd.
Support from Locals
The organizers will have to pull up their socks and garner the support of the local public if they intend to host the 2024 Olympic Games in Boston. The latest surveys reveal that 52 percent of the local population is against the Games while only 36 percent back the hosting of the Olympic Games in Boston. Cost, transparency, and inadequacy of infrastructure are being cited as the main reasons by the skeptics. Some sections of society have raised concerns over traffic and security matters also (Smith, 2015). Rich Davey, the Chief Executive Officer of Boston 2024, is ramping up public relations efforts by setting up 20 public meetings. The work is being made to build locally available support as it is one of the critical parameters that IOC takes into consideration while selecting the host city. There is a ‘No Boston Olympics’ group that is pushing for a referendum in November so that the locals can have a real say in the matter (Kamp and Futterman, 2015). Mayor Walsh is expected to have a conversation with and address the questions and concerns of people who are against hosting the Olympics in Boston. With a concerted effort and a robust public process, Boston 2024 may swing the tide in its favor.
What IOC Wants
The IOC encourages new bids that emphasize cost-effective planning. The idea is to promote sustainability and reduce exorbitant outlays that eventually lead to deficits. The IOC’s 40-point “Olympic Agenda 2020” also allows for distant venues to be used for the Olympic Games. The apex body wants the 2024 Games to be the new model for future Olympic hosts. It appears that Boston 2024, along with USOC, can pull off the winning bid if they work closely with other national and international sports federations in the country.
The Boston 2024 bid process in itself is a once-in-a-century opportunity to improve infrastructure, develop housing, increase commerce, build resources, attract global investment, and improve Boston’s standing on the world stage. It is also a unique opportunity for all stakeholders like city administration, the state government agencies, businesses, competitors, and environmentalists to discuss and solve challenges collaboratively. It can be said that hosting the Games will be rewarding for the city. However, there are some associated risks. If the planning and execution are proper, the benefits far outweigh the limitations. All the concerns must be addressed transparently so that the actual risk of the project is minimized and the benefits are maximized.
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