What does Boston’s withdrawal say about the city?

Opponents and proponents of hosting the Olympics offer their views

Statement of No Boston Olympics

Boston is a world-class city.  We are a city with an important past and a bright future. We got that way by thinking big, but also thinking smart. We need to move forward as a city, and today’s decision allows us to do that on our own terms, not the terms of the US Olympic Committee or the International Olympic Committee. We’re better off for having passed on Boston 2024.


Statement of Steve Pagliuca, chairman of Boston 2024

I write to you with difficult news. Today, after consulting with Mayor Walsh and Governor Baker, Boston 2024 and the United States Olympic Committee have made a joint decision to withdraw Boston’s bid to host the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

We wish the outcome of our effort together had been different. The Games are the world’s greatest sporting event, and hosting them here in Boston – the world’s greatest sports city – would have been thrilling. Hosting the Games would have brought transformational benefits to Boston: 8,000 new units of housing, tens of thousands of new jobs, new tax revenues to fund city priorities, and so much more. With Bid 2.0, our fiscally-responsible plan for privately-financed Games that included unprecedented safeguards to manage the risks associated with hosting, I’m confident that these benefits greatly outweighed the risks of hosting.

Despite our disappointment, we know that our planning for the Games, including our vision for Widett Circle and Columbia Point, has already benefitted Boston, Mayor Walsh’s important 2030 planning process, and other civic conversations around the future of Boston’s neighborhoods and economic vitality. Our challenge now is to make sure that all the hard work and innovative thinking that went into developing Bid 2.0 is marshaled to advance important economic development, housing, infrastructure, and job creation opportunities throughout Boston and the Commonwealth.

We were able to release Bid 2.0 thanks to a strong working relationship with Mayor Walsh and Governor Baker, as well as the support of business, community, and political leaders across Massachusetts. With more time to engage in a discussion about Bid 2.0, along with the appropriate review by the Mayor, the Brattle Group, the Governor, and Beacon Hill leadership, we think public support would grow in Boston and across the Commonwealth. However, as we reflected on the timing and the status of our bid in this international competition, we and the USOC have come to the conclusion that the extensive efforts required in Boston at this stage of the bid process would detract from the US’s ability to compete against strong interest from cities like Rome, Paris, Budapest, and Hamburg.  Our decision to withdraw Boston’s bid is meant to give the Olympic movement in the United States the best chance to bring the Games back to our country in 2024.

I want to express my deep gratitude and appreciation to all of you for lending your time, talent, experience, and enthusiasm to this effort. In my two months as chairman of Boston 2024, I have been honored by your partnership and your passion for Boston and the Olympic movement. Thanks to you, we developed a strong plan for hosting the Games, and I have no doubt that Boston would have made a great host city. I know we can harness all of the energy that went into our bid in service of new ways to make Boston even better.

Statement of James Rooney of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce

I want to commend the leaders of Boston 2024 for their bold thinking and for stimulating a statewide dialogue about planning for the future of this region – a process I hope will continue even without the Olympic bid. While hosting the Olympic Games could have been an exciting opportunity for Boston, I believe Mayor Walsh and Governor Baker were right to be cautious about assuming too much taxpayer risk. It seems there are lessons that any American city and the USOC should take away from this experience around issues of openness and transparency throughout the process, as well as whether any US mayor can be asked to put their city’s finances at risk to host an Olympics. Despite the withdrawal of Boston’s bid, our business, government, and civic leaders can and should continue the conversations about what our region could look like 10 or 20 years down the road, and how we can make smart investments in infrastructure, neighborhood planning, education, and housing to enhance our economic future and appeal as a global city.