By Tsolmon Choijilsuren
Hosting the Olympics Games is a chance to boost the economy and advertise the country to the world. However, one must be careful enough to note whether the actual benefit would outweigh the cost. For 2014 winter Olympics, Russia lavishly spent over 50 billion for Sochi’s renewal and stadiums, but now the economy is shrinking with negative rate in growth. But things are bit different for China in terms of the development. The estimated cost for 2008 Beijing Games was about 44 billion dollars, but the country managed to rebuild the entire city infrastructure, and the economic growth accelerated since then.
United States Olympic Committee in January chose Boston to represent US in the 2024 Summer Olympics bid. However, a sharp contrast with other big cities around the world and the small favor of residents in the area are drawing back the chance of Boston hosting the Games. A recent WBUR poll conducted by MassINC found out that only 36 percent of Bostonians are favoring the event while 52 and 13 oppose and refuse to answer respectively. In February, supporters were holding around 44%, so within a month, the rate declined sharply by one-fourth, showing the strong inclination of opposing the Olympics. If the rates go down at the current rate, Boston would definitely be cut from the bidding cities, losing to Rome, Paris, or Hamburg.
With two loses in 2012 New York, 2016 Chicago, US definitely wants to work the Boston bid, but problems arise as public are afraid to spend billions on giant stadiums that leave as tourist attractions. The Bird Nest in Beijing is an example of such, now only hosts only several events a year with tourists taking pictures outside.
The local bid committee, Boston 2024 has proposed to include no taxpayer money, only using private sectors to raise the budget and use the Olympic facilities for later use. However, it is important to note the cost always exceeds the budget. In fact, Oxford University recently calculated the average cost overrun to be 79 percent (qtd. in Swift).
An article published in Boston Globe by Mark Arsenault shows that the budget for the Games is predicted to be around 10 billion; 4.7 coming from the corporate sponsorship, broadcast fees, and 3.4 from private developers who would build the necessary facilities. As Boston already has many privately owned companies and universities, the funding may become a success without adding up to government spending. The article goes on to say that the committee is taking ideas from 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta to finance its budget as the local universities and corporations are showing high interest in funding the construction. A successful example include the aquatic center in Georgia Institute of Technology, which private organizations raised money to build the venue and later gave to the university as a college recreational center (Arsenault). The author then mentions, it is much easier to host in US cities than developing countries because they already have some necessary infrastructure, and it is much better than rebuild everything out of a bare soil.
The major reasons Bostonians are opposing the Games are the high opportunity cost, and the transportation problems. The MBTA had a rough time this winter, and the public suffered from constant delays and closing downs. The city officials see Olympics as an opportunity to fix the T, but during the construction, many would face problem in commuting as the big avenues are now already suffering from heavy traffics. Also, the budget would come from Massachusetts State, but once its renewed, the public will enjoy faster and more effective transportation.
So can Boston really host the event? Can the Olympics be beneficial to the economy? The answer is up to the private committees and the people of the Massachusetts. If they can raise enough funds from the private sectors, and the government agrees to take care of MBTA, the Games actually might happen in Boston, 10 years from today. The committee also has to work on advertising the benefit of the Olympics to Mass State residents, and earn their position to hold the event on the incoming referendum in November 2016.
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Arsenault, Mark. “Atlanta Games’ Venues from 1996 Left Legacy, Some Lessons – The Boston Globe.” BostonGlobe.com. BOSTON GLOBE MEDIA PARTNERS, LLC, 03 Aug. 2014. Web. 14 Apr. 2015.
Falchuk, Evan. “What Would Be A Meaningful Vote On The Boston Olympics? Hint: Not A Referendum.” Cognoscenti. 90.9WBUR, 2 Apr. 2015. Web. 14 Apr. 2015.
Press, Associated. “Bidding Race for 2024 Olympics Starting to Get Crowded.” Www.bostonherald.com. Boston Herald, 13 Apr. 2015. Web. 14 Apr. 2015.
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