PtG Article 20.08.2015

Boston 2024 bid was risky, says new report

In a state-backed report, consultants find the Boston 2024 bid’s costs to be underestimated and the benefits overestimated. Boston 2024 organisers say the report missed out on details and is flawed.

The Boston 2024 bid was dropped in July this year due to a lack of public and political support. While the bid was still on, the Massachusetts state commissioned Cambridge-based consultants The Brattle Group to do an analysis on the potential economic impacts of the proposed bid.

The Brattle Group’s result came on Tuesday, when the ‘Brattle report’ was released. According to the report, hosting the Games would have posed significant risks of cost overruns and revenue shortfalls.

“The state and  local governments, while having only limited ability to influence and shape the bid, would bear significant financial risks as the ultimate guarantors,” says the report. “The taxpayers of Massachusetts would be the ultimate risk bearers.”

According to the report, construction costs related to the hosting of the Games could have risen by $970 m. among other things.

“Even though the bid was withdrawn, this report demonstrates that there were a series of real risks associated with bringing the games to Massachusetts,” said Massachusetts senate president Stan Rosenberg, one of the officials behind the commission of the report, in a press release.

Boston 2024, the local bid committee, quickly issued a statement criticising the Brattle Group for not fact checking its information and accusing  the report of containing ‘several misrepresentations and/or errors’.

In the statement, the organisers list a number of specific points in which they find the report to have been mistaken. On a more general note, the Boston 2024 claims that the Brattle report has been too focused on making comparisons to previous Olympics instead of looking at the actual bid.

“The Battle Group analysis is a simple comparison of our budget to past Games including London. There was no effort to critique our venue by venue construction budgets which we provided, down to very specific costs […],” the Boston 2024 replies.

Protest group No Boston Olympics sees the report as a confirmation that dropping the bid was the right decision.

"This independent analysis completed by experts hired by the state confirms that Boston 2024 was a risky deal for taxpayers. The healthy skepticism expressed by voters and leaders in the State House was warranted. Massachusetts dodged a bullet," said No Boston Olympics in a statement.

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