Olympic Process FAQ
When did the political push for Boston to host the 2024 Summer Olympics begin?
In January 2013, Senator Eileen Donoghue (D-Lowell) filed a bill to create a “Special Commission Relative to the Feasibility of Hosting the Summer Olympics in the Commonwealth in 2024.” The following month, the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) invited 35 cities to explore the possibility of submitting a bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics. That July, the state senate passed Donoghue’s bill 38 to 1, the sole opponent being Bob Hedlund, a conservative Republican from Weymouth. The bill was then approved by Deval Patrick at the end of October, and the commission formed shortly thereafter.
Who served on the feasibility commission?
Governor Deval Patrick had three appointees:
John Fish (Chair), Chairman and CEO, Suffolk Construction
Stephen Freyer, President, Freyer Management Associates
Sheriff Steve Tompkins
Senate President Therese Murray had two appointees:
Senator Eileen Donoghue (D-Lowell)
Ralph Cox, Principal, Redgate Real Estate Advisors
Speaker Robert DeLeo had two appointees:
Representative Cory Atkins (D-Concord)
Daniel O’Connell, President and CEO, Massachusetts Competitive Partnership
Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr appointed his General Counsel, Jonah Buckley.
House Minority Leader Bradley Jones appointed his legislative aide, Andrea Crupi.
Mayor Martin Walsh had two appointees:
Cindy Brown, President & CEO, Boston Duck Tours and Frost Ice Bar
Christopher Cook, Director of Arts, Tourism, and Special Events, Office of Mayor Martin Walsh
Academia and civil society were shut out of the commission.
At the time, there were three academics in Massachusetts whose work focused on the economics of the Olympics and other mega-events. They include Andrew Zimbalist of Smith College, Victor Matheson at the College of the Holy Cross, and Judith Grant Long at Harvard University (now at the University of Michigan). They were not asked to serve on the commission. Instead, as you can see, the commission only invited business leaders with a vested interest in hosting the Games.
What came out of the commission?
The commission released its final report on February 27, 2014. The commission ignored the crucial question of the costs of hosting the Olympics and whether those costs outweigh the benefits.
How did this get from just a feasibility study to an actual bid?
The leaders of the feasibility commission created a parallel organization–the “non-profit” Boston 2024 Partnership in January 2014. John Fish, the Chairman of the feasibility commission, became the treasurer, clerk, and director (then, later, chairman) of Boston 2024. Daniel O’Connell, another appointee from the feasibility commission, became the president. Robert Kraft of the Kraft Group (and owner of the Patriots), Steve Pagliuca of Bain Capital, and Gloria Larson of Bentley University were listed as directors. The Boston 2024 Executive Committee was then filed with university executives, corporate executives, and corporate lobbyists. No community organizations were represented in the Executive Committee.
From then until December 1, 2014, Boston 2024 developed the bid behind closed doors. Over this time, neither Boston 2024 nor Mayor Martin Walsh, a booster of the Olympic bid who participated in the presentation to the USOC, held a single open community meeting during the development of the bid. Neither Boston 2024 nor Mayor Walsh sought the consent of the public before proceeding.
In December 2014, Mayor Walsh signed a joinder agreement with the USOC which barred city employees from criticizing the bid or the Olympics in general. (Only in late February 2015, a month after the story about the joinder broke and after he received significant bad press did Mayor Walsh sign a revised version that eliminated this provision.)
Where are we now in the process?
On January 8, 2015, the USOC chose Boston as its applicant city for the 2024 Olympics. Mayor Walsh announced a series of 9 “Olympic community meetings” for the City of Boston. At these meetings, Boston 2024 delivers a marketing pitch, and then concerned citizens are able to ask questions and make comments. This format is largely similar to that of Boston 2024’s own meetings, the difference only being whether a representative of the mayor (John FitzGerald of the Boston Redevelopment Authority) is present. There is no formal, transparent mechanism for incorporating the public feedback from these meetings. Moreover, these meetings are designed to evade the question of whether or not Boston should be hosting the Olympics in the first place.
What is the next step in the bidding process?
September 15, 2015 is the deadline for cities to formally declare as an IOC applicant city. The series of “Olympic community meetings” hosted (but not attended) by Mayor Wash will not have been completed then, as the meeting in East Boston is not until September 29.
If Boston declares as an IOC applicant city, it will have done so without the formal consent of the citizens of Boston.
What does the IOC process look like?
The IOC will meet with representatives from each applicant city from October 7 to 9, 2015, in Lausanne, Switzerland, to establish rules and procedures for the international bidding campaign.
Cities will then have until January 8, 2016, to submit final bids to the IOC.
In April or May 2016, the IOC Executive Board will select a shortlist of candidate cities.
Mayor Walsh and Boston 2024 plan to allow the IOC to cast a vote on Boston’s Olympic bid before the people of Boston ever do.
If Boston ends up on the shortlist, what happens next?
By January 2017, candidate cities have to submit their candidature files, their “master plans” for organizing the Olympic Games, and any financial guarantee letters.
In February and March 2017, the IOC Evaluation Commission will visit candidate cities.
In June 2017, candidate cities will deliver briefings to IOC members.
In the summer of 2017, candidate cities present to IOC members, and the IOC elects the host city of the 2024 Games.