Editorial: Olympic effort for Boston
As the Winter Olympics Games at Sochi continue to fade in the rear-view mirror, not too far on the horizon ahead is, of course, the Summer Olympics of 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where ski goggles will be traded for sunglasses and where much of the ice will be found in drinks.
Getting a chance to play host to the Olympics is presented to potential venues as a golden opportunity to introduce the world to the joys and hospitality that your city and region has to offer — as well as an economic boost.
It’s no wonder that so many places around the globe vie for a chance to provide the backdrop to what’s happening on the playing field, track or court as the international competition takes place.
All of this comes with a price, however. The just-finished games in Sochi are said to have carried a price tag of $51 billion. As Rio undergoes the construction necessary to build the necessary venues, housing and infrastructure, there are already concerns being expressed by the International Olympic Committee and others that the work won’t be done on time, to say nothing of the financial strains on the already-stressed Argentinian economy.
Anyone wanting to play host to the Olympics, then, should come to the table with eyes wide open to the challenges — and a bulging wallet.
This warning should be heeded by supporters holding the Summer Games in Boston in 2024.
A commission created by Gov. Deval Patrick and the Legislature to examine whether Boston would meet the requisites needed to make such a bid, is expected to release its report any day now.
A copy of that report obtained in advance by the Boston Globe earlier this week states that the city is prepared to handle certain aspects of hosting the Olympics, but there are significant challenges, including the siting and building of an 80,000-seat Olympic Stadium and a 100-acre Olympic Village. The report also warns that the public transportation system would need improvements — including some expansion.
One can only imagine the money that all of this will require, and the push-back from Boston and commonwealth taxpayers, who would certain object strenuously to financing an Olympic endeavor.
The commission recognizes in the report that money is a serious issue: “The biggest concern is related to the actual cost associated with hosting — from where funding comes from to how it would be allocated.”
Other sites have leaned heavily on commercial financing, but that has to be examined carefully before any more steps are taken.