Boston’s selection by the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) as the United States representative in the sweepstakes to host the 2024 Summer Olympic Games could be good news for Connecticut. The USOC will hope to convince international Olympicsvoters to bring the Summer Games to America after a 28-year gap. The International Olympic Committee will award the Games in 2017. The U.S. last hosted a Summer Olympiad in Atlanta in 1996; a Winter Olympics in 2002. St. Louis hosted in 1904 and Los Angeles held the Games in both 1932 and 1984.
USOC board members chose Boston, with its promise of frugality and temporary, reusable venues, over Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington. Boston joins Rome as the only other city that has officially decided to bid. Germany will submit either Hamburg or Berlin, with France, South Africa and Hungary among those also considering bids, according to published reports.
The Connecticut Convention & Sports Bureau (CCSB), the state’s official meetings and sports event sales and marketing organization, “supports Boston’s bid for the 2024 Olympics,” Interim President H. Scott Phelps told CT by the Numbers last fall.
CCSB officials noted that if the Olympic Games decide to come to Boston, “it could be great for tourism in nearby Connecticut as well, as spectators and competitors would be encouraged to come visit our State’s attractions,” adding that “there might be opportunities for our state to host pre-Olympic competitions and … athletes.”
Even before Boston’s selection by the USOC, at least one Olympics observer suggested that Connecticut may have an Olympic supporting role to play. Rosanna Garcia, associate professor of marketing in the D’Amore-McKim School of Business at Northeastern University in Boston, who has attended the past eight Summer Olympics, sees the city turning to Connecticut and Rhode Island to host some events.
“With more than 300 events that typically occur at the Olympics, many cities around Massachusetts, and even Rhode Island and Connecticut, will need to partner with the International Olympic Committee to host these events,” Garcia points out.
“Many preliminary competition events would need to take place outside of the main Olympic Park areas so events may occur as far away as Connecticut. This also is an opportunity for more people to get involved with the Olympic Spirit,” Garcia adds.
America's last two attempts to land the Games were unsuccessful - fourth-place finishes for New York seeking the 2012 Games that went to London and Chicago which had hoped to be selected for 2016.
Boston focused on its ability to use universities throughout the area to house events and athletes. It touted a walkable, technology-based Olympics and said as many as 70 percent of its venues would be temporary, and the schools would pay for many of the venues, then take them over after the Games, according to reports on the city’s bid.
Last fall, a promotional video advocating a Boston bid was released, and a website was launched. With an eye toward innovation and efficiency, the video highlights Boston’s bid “to create a sustainable model for hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games that can become the blueprint for future host cities.”
It is the first time that Boston has prepared a bid to host the Games, and it is being led by an organization called the Boston 2024 Partnership, a nonprofit organization formed to prepare the bid materials. The group is governed by a 36-member executive committee, and has launched a series of subcommittees aimed at master planning, fundraising, outreach, and engagement.
Organizers note that no tax dollars have been spent on Boston 2024, and tax dollars will not be used to build venues or pay for the operation of the Games. Public investment will be confined to roadway, transportation and infrastructure improvements, most of which are already planned and are needed with or without the Olympics.
“Regardless of whether or not Boston wins the Olympics, the City’s bid has helped to elevate the Boston and other New England brands to sports event planners from all over the world,” Connecticut officials added.